No Risk, No Treasure!

January is usually a difficult month for many people in our city. The irony is that it comes right after December, which is usually the best month for many of us. If there’s one word that describes January for many people, it’s BROKE! And this January is particularly tricky because experts predict that our economy will go through difficult times in 2012.

Today we want to look at the next two keys to thriving in a difficult year. We want to learn from a Please turn in your bibles to 2 Kings 7:3-11. This is a story about a nation that was going through very difficult times. And about a group of the most unlikely people – who somehow found a way to thrive in the midst of great difficulty.

The context to our reading is that the people of Samaria were living through the toughest time in their history as a nation. They had been attacked by a powerful enemy who had blockaded their borders, nothing could come in or go out of the city walls. Local food production was at zero leading to serious inflation. Things got so bad that a donkey’s head sold for the equivalent of 4500Ksh, and a handful of seed pods (ndengu) sold for 250Ksh. The very poor even began to practice cannibalism. This was desperation at a level never before experienced.

READ 2 Kings 7:3-11

Our reading tells introduces us to a group of 4 men who were in even worse situation than the other citizens. Because they suffered from a feared disease, they were not allowed into the city, even with the surrounding enemy. So they lived outside the city wall, huddling next to the city gates. Normally, they made a living by begging and scavenging through the garbage for food. But at a time when a donkey’s head was selling for 4500Sh, you can imagine that there was very little left over in the garbage for beggars! They came to the conclusion that for them to remain where they were was certain death. And they decided to take a risk together. It is from these unlikely people that we can learn two more keys to thriving in 2012

1. RELATE WISELY
It seems quite reasonable that in the face of the enemy attack, the city of Samaria was shut up. People in the city kept to themselves. They withdrew behind their strong stone walls and big wooden city gates. To the naked eye, it seemed as though their tough wall was doing a great job of protecting them. But the reality is that those walls only concealed the fact that they were dying slowly on the inside.

As I think about human nature, this seems like a very reasonable response. When people are going through tough times, many people’s natural response is to put up walls and shut others out. Let’s face it; when you’ve been fired from your job, or your business has fallen apart, or you’ve been ditched by your girlfriend, or you’re going through serious ‘issues’ in your marriage, or you’ve experienced a divorce or auctioneers are looking for you, the last thing you want is for people to know what you’re going through. So what do you do? Most people keep away from any social interaction. They are no longer seen in church and certainly not in Life-group.

Other people cover it up by dressing well. They pretend all is going well. ‘fake it till you make it’. Let me invite you to look cautiously around; is the person sitting next to looking VERY smart?

My point is that when times become difficult, people hide. We put up the walls & shut the gates: We’d rather die alone on the inside. But the interesting thing about these lepers is that they chose to do the exact opposite. They encouraged each other and they ventured out as a team. And as a result of their unity, they discovered a treasure that eventually saved their entire nation. And here’s our main point from this passage; no risk, no treasure!

These lepers teach us an important lesson; that we should never fly solo during times of hardship. Isolating ourselves in difficult times is a survival decision. But if you want to thrive in 2012, you cannot be like everyone else. You need to relate with others. From our passage, I can see at least two characteristics…

a. Friends That Stick With You – v.3 ‘They said to each other, “Why stay here until we die?”’ In these days of so called ‘social media’, many of us don’t have real friends; instead we have ‘Facebook friends’ and ‘Twitter followers’. In life as in virtual reality, it’s easy to be surrounded by a bunch of strangers: These are the friends who give you a lot of airtime when you’re doing well. But when things are not going well, you would never dare share it with them because you have to keep up that façade. So here’s a verse for those of you who have many friends on FB

Prov.18:24 says ‘A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother’. Who are the people in your life who you can share with when things are difficult? Those who will stick closer than a brother? In 2012, resolve to surround yourself with people who will look out for you and who you will look out for. Resolve to relate wisely.

b. Friends that Challenge You – v. 9 ‘We’re not doing right. This is a day of good news and we are keeping it to ourselves. If we wait until daylight, punishment will overtake us. Let’s go at once and report this to the royal palace.’ I wonder if one of the lepers argued and said, ‘why would we want to help them? When we were starving, they wouldn’t even share what they had!’ But then perhaps another one interjected and said, ‘even though they wouldn’t help us, we can’t just leave them to die. That’s not right. We’re better than that!’ I propose to you that everyone here needs someone in their lives who will say to them, “What you are doing may feel right to you, but that doesn’t make it right. You’re better than that!”

In difficult times we need friends who are not impressed with our reputation. These are the friends who share your values, who believe the same things about reality that you do. For example, if you believe that time with your wife and family comes before career advancement or personal entertainment, it’s difficult to succeed if you’re surrounded by friends with opposite values. This is what happens to many men. Your ‘boys’ start making fun of you at the office; ‘this guy is always running home after work. He must have a curfew!’ Next thing you know, it’s after work and there you are, going for a drink with the guys. Amos 3:3 asks the question ‘Can two people walk together unless they’re agreed?’ (KJV). It’s hard to thrive when you’re surrounded by people who are indifferent about the things that are important to you!

There are many in church today that are dying alone. But you need not to. In 2012, commit to surround yourself with real friends and be what the lepers were to each other. They cared for, advised and kept each other accountable. If you want to thrive in 2012, you need to Relate Wisely.

The second thing we learn from the lepers if we want to thrive in difficult times is that we need to:

2. INVEST STRATEGICALLY
Back to the people in Samaria: They were dying a slow and certain death. And yet they remained locked up in their stone cage, unwilling to take a risk. As a result, there was no way they could know that there was not a single soldier enemy for miles around, and that all the supplies and treasures that the Aramean army had gathered from their previous conquests lay unguarded, less than a kilometer away. But the lepers were different. They had the option to remain where they were and never look beyond, like the people in the city. But they chose to take a risk. They assessed their situation and saw where there best options were and made the move. And in the process, they discovered a treasure that would make them rich for the rest of their lives.

The greatest risk during times of hardship is not to take any risks; to play it safe. But for those who will thrive in difficult times, they must raise their heads and venture out. This is probably the most difficult to apply of all the keys to thriving in difficult times. When times are difficult, everything in you screams ‘HOARD!’ You want to preserve whatever little you have and to hold it to yourself. And yet, savvy investors will tell you that the best time to invest is when everyone else is afraid, because as a wise investor said, ‘the fear of many creates the opportunity for the few’ . In other words, a wise investor is one who has a long term view and who swims against the current and buys while prices are low. Wealth is actually made in the difficult economic times. Remember, no risk, no treasure!

What am I saying? 2012 is not your year to hide and play safe. 2012 is your year to venture out! I believe this is a year when God will position many of His people for influence, as we invest strategically. What risks are you planning to take in 2012? This year, I’m determined to take risks in my faith. I want to see God do greater things in my life and in Mavuno. I’m determined to take risks in my family to grow our intimacy and to grow fearless children. And I’m determined to take risks in investments – asking God to multiply resources and allow me to invest in certain things in this tough year that will bring maximum glory to Him.

The idea here is not to gamble or take foolish risks. Proverbs 24:6 says ‘for waging war you need guidance, and for victory many advisors’. If you want to have victory, if you want to thrive in difficult times, you need advisers. You need a team you can share your ideas with and who can bring in different perspectives to the table and most importantly stand with you in prayer. With such a team behind you, you will be able to venture out when others are playing it safe. Because no risk, no treasure!

You should never walk alone in uncertain times. This is a great time to ensure that you are part of a good, loving community. If you’re in a Life Group, I encourage you to recommit to be faithful to your meetings this year and to invest in the friendships there. I encourage you to stand together and commit to providing opportunities for one another throughout 2012. Many groups formed investment clubs last year and I encourage you to keep at it! Pray together that God will guide you into specific areas for investment. Pray for each other’s investments. And if you’re not in a Life group, the best way to connect to one is through Mizizi. Mizizi is a ten week experience that will help you connect with God and your purpose, but it will also introduce you to some great people that you can establish meaningful relationships with. I encourage you to come to the launch this Tuesday. Remember, no risk, no treasure!

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10 Responses to “No Risk, No Treasure!”

  1. Thanks for this message Pator M. Very timely, it has soo ministered to me!
    Barikiwa

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  2. NO RISK…..NO TREASURE,,,,This is my year to thrive…i so feel it and i am so ready for it….1st thing i did was try out at the auditions for the Village Easter!!!!!!!!Last time i was in a play was 20 odd years ago!!!!!!So I WENT ALONG AND TRIED IT OUT AND IT WAS awesome,amazing exciting,……..This is my year to thrive…….i want to met new people,share new experiences,establish new relationships,connect with God and refurbish my life…its a whole new ball game and i no longer walk alone and i know that no matter what i am going through i will get through it because there is a reason and it is for a season…..This is my year to thrive…….i am going to take the risk…..because i want the treasure…….see you at the launch tomorrow!

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  3. awesome…fly against the turbulent wind current like the eagle and you shall definitely go up higher above the destructive typhoon

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  4. This msg was spot on for our Life group. Am actually waiting for the sermon up load on You tube so I can send the link to our googlegroup for those who didn’t make it to church. We’ve been through it all as LG and I thank God for this far we’ve come. We have just formed an Investment Group and planning to do Ombi coming season. Thanks Pst. M. for your prayers on Sunday, God Bless. I know God has something grand for our LG, we were at the verge of splitting but here we are growing stronger 3 years and counting.

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  5. The sermon was on point Pastor M, 2012 , God will show up and Show in his classical fashion to a point where no one will doubt his exploits and all Glory will be to Him.

    We as God’s people who are called by his name are being called to step out in faith and take hold of our destinies

    Daniel 11:32 (NIV) ~ But the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.

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  6. Philip Onyango Says:

    Thanks.I have purposed to raise my head and venture out this year.May God bless you

    Pastor Philip

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  7. lonely Girl Says:

    Thank you…. Pastor M for your encouragement….for people like me ..who lost hope year in and out depending on survival…i can’t survive any more i have to thrive this year. I was bitter for a while with God after i lost my parents when i was only three – now at 22 i miss them and i have know one to talk to …have no real friends rather than facebook fans… I have always walked alone in uncertain times… you talked about this team and for me it is Mission Impossible …”You need a team you can share your ideas with and who can bring in different perspectives to the table and most importantly stand with you in prayer”….the pain of not trusting people, betrayal…that’s what i saw when u preached in church last Sunday … I am tired of depending on people, relatives, fake friends. I want to stand and testify come 2013, talk about what Lord has done for me. I don’t want to survive anymore……from last year June i lost hope and i got into partying and drinking…every weekend party starts on Friday and ends on Sunday; i did not get time for church and it hurts me

    On 31st of Dec 2011 i wanted to go out then i went to the salon for pedicure and manicure….unfortunately my phone fell in water and i didnt have any contacts so i was not in the mood. Later i left the house for Carnivore and i told God ….please help me i want to go to church tomorrow …i did drink but not much. The following day on 1st i was in Mavuno…..I thank God coz for the past three weeks have not looked back yet….i feel encouraged day by day … please pastor M put me in your prayers this year God bless you so much and your family. NO RISK…NO TREASURE. This is my year to thrive … i so feel it and i am so ready for it.

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  8. Allan litswa Says:

    Thats wonderful sermon for me.i wish u come to lifespring embakasi and preach us one sunday.

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  9. I must admit, I have friends, no doubt. But in the midst of difficulty, I’ve found myself lost in a forest and cannot find a single tree. Flying solo is soon becoming my forte.Things havent been working out in my life, hence I fake it when I’m with my friends. I didn’t want them to know what I’m going through, because sometimes it’s very embarrassing or someone will just shoot, “I told you so.” But I hear you, I need these friends. And I hope this year I’ll open my Samaria gate, because God gave them to me in order for me to Thrive.

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  10. Pastor M this message of thriving is real…I must admit we have been the laughing stock of our village for sometime. My parents have educated all of us to university but no one had a job. Towards the end of last year u prayed for people who were trusting God for a job. I stood on behalf of my family and I am glad to give a testimony i got a job, my brother got a very good job and my mum who has been praying and fasting for us has gotten a promotion. She is now a deputy. Talk about Trusting God and Holding on to the dream….Its real people

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