“Those who risk little achieve little; those who risk the most achieve the most,” was the premise of Professor David Velloney’s message delivered in Law Chapel this week. Velloney admonished Christians to be risk-takers, no matter our gifts, temperaments, or professional calling.
Citing the story of Elijah’s encounter with Obadiah in I Kings 18:1-15, Velloney contrasted the lives of these two unique risk-takers for God. During a time of societal disintegration and a spiritual apostasy, God raised up Elijah, a rough-and-tumble mountain man, and Obadiah, a political leader in a strategic position, to serve His interests. They are examples for us as we face the challenge of living for God in a difficult environment.
It was known of Elijah that the Lord was His God, despite his unruly, temperamental nature. Velloney asked what is it about your life that declares to those around you that the Lord is your God? If you feel inadequate in your boldness to stand for the Lord, consider Elijah’s perspective. He believed in a LIVING, promise keeping God, lived in God’s presence and obeyed Him, though it often led him through difficult places of training.
Obadiah, a very different person in a very different station, was another of God’s risk-takers. As palace administrator for wicked king Ahab, he was in a trusted position of favor and authority. He used his position to boldly serve God by protecting many of His prophets during Jezebel’s bout of genocide and to pave the way for Elijah’s meeting with the king.
Obadiah reminds us that God has placed each of us exactly where He wants us for his purposes. Instead of thinking so much about other people, the Lord admonishes us in John 21:20-22 to concentrate on following Him ourselves. The distinctive examples of Elijah and Obadiah challenge us to follow Christ, recognize our gifts, and live out our own calling individually as we unite to serve God.
By way of application, Velloney asked, “How do we become risk-takers?” The reference to Elijah in James 5:17 shows that being a risk-taker begins with a personal relationship with God reflected in a life of prayer. “Prayer should be a major part of what we do at Regent Law,” said Velloney in closing, and he alluded to more to come to make prayer a priority at Regent Law this semester.