Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point. — C. S. Lewis
Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage. — Maya Angelou
Imagine you are headed to a class later today titled “How to change the world Jesus-style.” As you arrive you notice there are about 70 people in the room and before anyone starts teaching they pair you up 2 by 2 and before you know it your standing next to someone else that you barely know waiting further instructions.
Next you’re handed a number and this number seems to correspond to a map that is prominently displayed on the wall next to you. You realize that it’s broken up by zones and the number you are holding corresponds to one of these zones.
You are all asked to be seated and then the lecturer makes his way to the front and says the following:
“The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.
“When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you. Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house.
“When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is offered to you. Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, ‘Even the dust of your town we wipe from our feet as a warning to you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God has come near.’ I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.
“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades.
“Whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me; but whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me.”
Next thing you know you are being whisked into buses and dropped off in the city section and you and you new friend start to make you way to the first home you see…you take a deep breath and knock on the door.
This sounds crazy doesn’t it?
What are you going to say? What happens if they don’t let you in? Worse than that…what if they do? Are you really supposed to pray for a sick person? What if they don’t get healed? What does it even mean to say “The kingdom of God is near you”?
If the early followers of Jesus were good at anything it was taking a risk. They just kept leaning in and doing what was in front of them. They were sent out with VERY little preparation and they just went for it. Page after page of the gospels demonstrate this…people doing what is very uncomfortable for them in order to demonstrate their love and affection for Jesus. Not just doing things he commands, but reaching towards him in love.
They aren’t even sure if it will work. After he sends these 70 folks in Luke 10 they report back “amazed”that it worked. In other words…they weren’t even sure if it’d work, but they tried anyway! Others in the gospels risk humiliation and scorn in order to touch Jesus or even to just be near him. They don’t just wait for convenient times or places, they go for broke.
If courage is a necessary ingredient for being a follower of Jesus…how do we grow to be courageous? What are the key fears that keep us from risking everything to know and follow him?