I was looking over the gospel for this weekend, since I’ll be sitting in on children’s church, and it’s the Parable of the Talents.
My church is having money problems. These days, that’s like saying that my church has worship. Everybody has money problems; everybody’s church has money problems. It’s just kind of the way it is. I won’t lie…I’m a human being, and I’m stressing about ours. And as I was stressing this morning and then reading the Bible (which I highly recommend when you’re stressing, especially the Psalms and the Gospels), this verse jumped out at me (from the homophobic dude with the purple bike, if you’re keeping track). “Master, I knew that you were a harsh man….so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground.”
“I was afraid.”
How many horrible things is this phrase responsible for? “I was afraid, so I shot first.” “I was afraid, so I said nothing.” “I was afraid, so….”
I was afraid, so I didn’t step out in faith. I was afraid, so I didn’t trust that God would take care of GOD’S OWN CHURCH and take care of us if we invested, gambled on God’s promised future, tricked out God’s church until Jesus returns!
I’ll leave us with a verse that I want to keep in front of me, and one that I use almost as a mantra when I feel afraid because of money or time or health insurance or my job or whatever, because I think it’s true, and helpful, and life-giving if you’re part of a community who wants to operate not out of a spirit of fear, but of power. Fear, truly, is the opposite of love. Let’s be about the business of love, okay? Listen to this:
“God has not given us a spirit of fear, but the Lord has given us a spirit of POWER, of LOVE, of SELF-CONTROL.” -1 Timothy 1:7
(My favorite version of this song is from Voices of Hope, a women’s choir out of a prison here in Atlanta, but this one does nicely.