What is striking fear in your heart these days?
You may remember Jesus’ parable of the talents in Matthew chapter 25: A wealthy business owner entrusted his employees with treasure. Two of the employees invested the treasure, but one was filled with fear and buried the treasure in order to protect it. The frightened servant told his master: “I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground.” Matthew 25:25
Fear can be paralyzing—even for followers of Jesus. We’ve been given the greatest treasure: new life, the forgiveness of sins, and everlasting hope in our Savior. But fear may entice us to bury that treasure, to use our own impoverished resources as we face the rigors of life, and to hesitate in sharing the gifts of God with others.
Fear doesn’t spring from faith. In fact, fear always tries to make faith fail.
That’s why you need to be on guard when you face a new season in life. Fear can overcome you and send you into anxiety, negativity, and hopelessness.
The church needs to be on guard too. Our changing and chaotic culture can cause the church to collapse into itself. Filled with fear, the Gospel can be placed under the bushel of worry. Overcome with anxiety, we can ignore the calling to “press on” and veer into the selfish and sinful protection of our comfort levels and traditions.
The first disciples of Jesus tried that strategy. But as they hid behind locked doors because of fear, the risen Christ appeared to them and provided the antidote to their worry and doubt. He said, “Peace be with you.” Then after showing his wounds to the frightened group, Jesus said, again: “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” John 20:21 He sent them with His divine peace to share His gifts with a broken world.
Jesus does the same for you. In the face of fear, He equips you and sends you. He does that for His precious church, too. After all, “perfect love casts out fear.” 1 John 4:18 The perfect love of Jesus flows from the cross and empty tomb to fill you through His Word and sacraments. You are sent with that perfect love to bless the people in your life.
As you face your new seasons, let the peace of your Savior transform you into a fearless and shining light of His love and grace. As the church encounters a changing world, let us be the same: shining lights of Jesus’ love and grace for all people.
Questions for reflection:
Read John 20:19-23
- What is causing you to be afraid these days?
- How may fear be attempting to place the work of your church on pause?
- In what ways might Jesus’ gift of peace and His sending change your approach to what is making you afraid?
- What is one new way your church might be able to make the Gospel more accessible to the people in your community?
Prayer starter: Read Psalm 3 and ask God to give you a fearless life in Him so that all will know His rescue, grace and love.
By Rev. Michael W. Newman
Texas District President