The boy risked ridicule and embarrassment as he handed over his miniscule sack lunch as an offering to feed thousands.
The woman with the issue of blood risked rejection from Jesus and even stoning from the crowd for daring to be so bold, in her state of uncleanness (according to the customs of the day), as to touch another individual.
Peter risked his very life as he took hold of his faith and courage while stepping out of the boat to walk on the storm-tossed sea.
Columbus risked his life, the life of his crew and his entire reputation on his belief that there was no edge of the earth because the earth was, in fact, round.
Indiana Jones, in The Last Crusade, risked taking a deadly fall as he faced a vast precipice and dared to have faith that he could cross it, even when there appeared to be no bridge spanning the gap.
And while it's important to note this common ground, it is even more important to note another similarity. They each received a blessing for the faith.
The boy had the opportunity to witness a miracle take place right before his eyes. Not only that, but he lived the rest of his days knowing that he had had a part in that miracle. And for all of time, his story of giving will live on through the Word of God.
The woman received not only physical healing, but I believe she also received a spiritual healing that day. Because of her faith, she received a new life. She was able to return to her family and friends. She was forever changed.
Peter learned an important lesson that he would carry for the rest of his life. Not only was he the only man (besides Christ) to walk on water, but he learned firsthand what happens when we take our eyes off the Lord and focus on our circumstances. Through this knowledge, his ministry flourished, and he reached many for Christ, and is still reaching others today through the books of the Bible God allowed him to pen.
Christopher Columbus changed the world as it was known. His discovery began a new era for explorers, and his name lives on in history as the greatest explorer to ever live.
As for Indiana Jones, his step of faith was rewarded with a bridge, invisible to the naked eye, upon which he traversed the canyon. His journey led him to the Holy Grail, which he used to save the life of his father.
May I make a suggestion for the new year? Take a risk. Throw common sense and logic out the window. Be willing to take a step of faith. Tithe more than you think you can afford to. Give to others when it appears you don't have enough for yourself. Start that business. Quit that job to go into full-time ministry. Obviously, I don't advise you to do any of these things against God's will, but if He's been urging you to do something, and fear has been holding you back, I want to remind you that faith is always rewarded. Things may not turn out the way you want, and the reaping may not take place as soon as you want, but don't give up. Take that step of faith, and wait for God to work.
Henry Clay Trumbull put it this way: “The Lord never builds a bridge of faith except under the feet of the faith-filled traveler. If He builds the bridge a rod ahead, it would not be a bridge of faith. That which is of sight is not of faith.” If you want to see the second step, you have to take the first. If you want to see what God can do in your life, you have to first take that leap of faith. I don't know what he's calling you to do today, but whatever it is, take the risk and reap the reward. Don't try to figure it out; just do it. Don't look; just leap!