From: Mr. Samuel Adams To: American Christians

Samuel Adams Scary vs dangerous

 

Now that I am a full-fledged crane operator, I have the privilege of listening to ten hours of whatever I please on a daily basis. A few months ago I used this liberty to listen to a podcast called: How I Built This. (Great podcast by the way)  This podcast is narrated by Guy Raz, and he does an incredible job of crafting a story around the founders of large movements and businesses. The story that I stumbled onto to at the time was the story of Jim Koch, and his lesson on being afraid while staying out of danger.

Jim is the founder of Samuel Adams Beer Company. He started it in 1984, with the goal of creating a new movement around craft beer during the age of light beers.  The interesting part of the story, though, happened just before Samuel Adams came to fruition.  Jim worked for a consulting company in the early 80’s and was cruising through a very “successful” career, making lots of money and working with large companies. He began to question this vocation, though, one day when he asked himself the question: “do I want to be doing this in ten years?”  The answer was: “no.” He then asked himself another question, “If I don’t want to be doing this in ten years, do I want to be doing this tomorrow?” Long story short, he was without a job the next day.

He went to his dad and told him what had happened, along with telling him what is future plans were.  He was going to start a craft brewery. His dad said: “Jim, you’ve done some stupid things in your life, but this is the stupidest.” (His dad knew from experience…he was a 5th generation brewmaster.)

At this point Guy asked him the same question: “why in the world would you leave a successful career to go into an industry that historically performed very poorly?”  Jim responded with a lesson that we can all learn from…especially American Christians.  He explained that what he did was extrememly scary, but at the same time it was actually taking him away from danger.  The danger in this decision was staying at his consulting job. Why?  Because when he looked back on his life at the end of his days, the last thing he wanted to se was an average life that he was not passionate about at a large consulting firm. It was dangerous because he had slipped into a good job that paid well and made him look successful, making it more and more difficult to get out of it…even when he knew that it wasn’t something that truly made him want to wake up every morning.

Starting a beer company, on the other hand, was something that was exciting for him.  Yes, it was scary, and yes, there was a chance that it would fail or do very poorly for years to come.  That was ok for him, though, because he was answering a call that used his gifts and would force him to grow and mature no matter the outcome of the business.

I think that at this point the picture of the lesson should already be pretty clear.  It is easy for American Christians to get into comfortable positions where they are completely stagnant spiritually.  The fact that we often see church as boring is definitely not scary, but it is incredibly dangerous.

Isaiah 29:13

The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.

Is this what church is for you? My prayer is that the Lord would lead us out of that and into an intimate relationship with Christ, a relationship that is evident to all by the fruit of our lives.

The question still remains…How do we get there?  How do we trade in apathetic “danger” for “scary” fruit? How do we take a step out onto the water towards Christ no mater how high the waves are around us? Are we all called to walk out in faith? Aren’t we supposed to protect ourselves and our families?

Lets take a look at Matthew Chapter 10:

16 “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. 17 Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues. 18 On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. 19 But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, 20 for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

21 “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. 22 You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 23 When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another.

28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.[b] 30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

32 “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.

Sheep among wolves??? Don’t worry about people killing the body?? Um…please let me go back to my church pew now.  It flies in the face of our American values.

There are no Shaun the Sheeps in real life…sheep are dumb and are completely helpless when faced with an immense danger such as a pack of wolves.  Why, then, would a loving Father push his Children out to a pack of wolves? It is because the very danger and persecution that seems so bad is actually God’s way of refining us and molding us into a true Son or Daughter.  James chapter 1 says:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 

12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

I think I need to be clear here in saying that God is not advocating that we do something dumb.  Right after it talked about being sheep among wolves it says “be as shrewd as snakes.” He is simply telling us that we will be put in scary situations that will test our faith, but He also reminds us that He is there with us to take care of us through those trials.

It really comes down to this:

28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. (Scary) Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. (Unfathomably dangerous)

 

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