The Audacity of Risking All for Christ

Thomas J. Euteneuer
Human Life International e-Newsletter
Volume 04, Number 40
December 4, 2009
Reproduced with Permission
Human Life International

On the Second Sunday of Advent we are presented with the fabulous but disturbing image of a man who stands in a desert telling people to "Prepare the way of the Lord!" The great John the Baptist calls us to repent of our sins and make straight all our distorted habits and lifestyles. That is a tough but important message that goes directly against a society that drags us more and more into sin and away from God. John wants us back! He is willing to tell us not what we want to hear but what we need to hear in order to prepare us for Christ's coming. He reminds us that we must straighten out our lives in order to be better able to receive the Redeemer.

The question has to be asked of all of us what sacrifices we are making, or willing to make, for the Gospel. Are we willing to risk a friendship or family relationship to issue a moral challenge to someone who is not living as Christ commands? Is there someone in your family who is contracepting? Is there a friend or loved one living in sin? Have you issued a challenge or remained quiet to keep the peace? Prophetic messages are never easy to deliver but if our concern were really for their immortal souls wouldn't we want to risk everything for those we love?

Maybe the risk involves standing fast when the world challenges our values. John did not seem to have much regard for worldly standards; he lived in the desert, clothed himself in camel's hair and ate locusts and honey! And yet, because of that sacrificial lifestyle he did not back down to the Pharisees or worldly-minded men when he was challenged but instead reminded them that God has rights too.

John the Baptist challenges us to greater zeal for Christ in this Advent season. We must be willing to take up the mantle of prophet to our nation and confront the total corruption of our culture. The transformation of hearts and society is going to require a church full of prophets and saints who are willing to risk many things - and relationships - for the sake of Christ.

It is helpful to remind ourselves of the risks that John the Baptist took. He issued a moral challenge to a king with a murderous temperament. John did not fear Herod or any other man. The one John feared most was God. He so much wanted the whole world to be prepared for Christ that he was willing to risk even challenging a tyrant with the hope that he would have a true conversion of heart and lead his people to God. Even though he lost his life preaching that message, he did not fail - nor will we fail when we take risks for God.

In Advent let us fully take to heart the prophetic teachings of our Church under the direction of the one who was sent to "prepare the way of the Lord."