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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Risk Tolerance and Ministering to People (1 Thes. 2:19)

"For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?"

One of the first things financial planners do when they sit down with a potential client is to assess their risk tolerance. Each person has a different propensity for risk. When investing, this risk propensity can be used to determine the percentage of your portfolio invested in various options from low risks (bonds and CD's) to high risks (equities).

Paul was a risk taker and all sorts of people were his investment as he went from town to town preaching Jesus and looking for those in whom he could invest the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

To be a Gospel and people investor you'll need to know your risk tolerance for:
  • Rejection - Paul faced constant opposition from his own people
  • Suffering - Paul faced angry crowds who stoned him; he spent time incarcerated under inhumane conditions; he was beaten, whipped, ship-wrecked, etc.
  • Disappointment - Paul surrounded himself with supportive team mates (Barnabas, Silas, Timothy, Titus, etc.) but every now and again people let him down (John Mark and Demas)
  • Hard work and difficult working conditions - Paul was a tent maker by trade and often supported his ministry efforts through his tent making which required time and attention
  • Imprisonment - Paul spent many of his later years under arrest
  • Dependency on others - Paul relied on others to meet basic needs and to assist him in ministry
Paul had a high tolerance for people investment which was rewarded when he was able to say about the Thessalonians "you are our hope, joy, and crown in which we glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when He comes." Tent making met Paul's needs while he invested in people but none of those tents remain today while his ministry to people lives on. Most Christians spend their lives making tents instead of taking the gospel to people and investing in their spiritual development. Any one can invest in making tents; God looks for those with a high risk tolerance who are willing to take the Gospel and invest in people.

Having a low risk tolerance for ministry is inexcusable and doesn't exempt any believer from investing the Gospel in the lives of the people all around him. It simply means you've got a lot to work on and to overcome. Get busy.

Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading:
1 Thessalonians 2:17-5:28
  • What does Paul's sending Timothy to Thessalonians tell you about Paul? tell the Thessalonians about Paul?
  • What are the components of Paul's prayer for the Thessalonians?
  • What kind of instructions does Paul give to the people?
  • What does this tell you about Paul's role and relationship with the people?
  • What does Paul teach them about those who have already died?
  • What does this teaching do for the people?
  • What does Paul teach them about the coming day of the Lord?
  • How are they to prepare for that day?
  • Which two pieces of soldiers apparel does Paul use to describe their readiness?
  • How are the people to treat the contents of this letter?
2 Thessalonians 1:1-12
  • How does Paul encourage the believers?
Turning truth into prayer
Ask the Lord to help you to see people in the same way Paul saw people.