August 4 - 10 , 2008

 SOLI/Update

    archive.stewardshipoflife.org




Fearless Giving

“Don’t be afraid,” Jesus tells his cowering disciples when they see him walking on water (Matthew 14:27, in the Gospel reading for Aug. 10). It’s just one of many occasions when Jesus tells his people not to fear. And not only Jesus, but angels, too, throughout the Bible, tell God’s children not to be afraid.

Why do God and God’s messengers continually have to reassure us people? It’s because following Jesus and walking a path of discipleship occasionally gets scary. God pushes us out of our comfort zones, asking us to do new tasks, to see new things and — most scary of all — to look inside ourselves, change our ways of life and change our hearts. 

Fear keeps many of us from growing as disciples of Christ. If we let fear dictate our lives, we’d probably never read a lesson in front of the congregation, never visit a severely injured church member, never stand up against injustice, never reach out to the suffering. All these things can be scary at first.

In the same way, fear is a key barrier to generous financial giving. We fear we won’t have enough if we give generously. We fear there is not enough in God’s economy to satisfy our needs if we give ours away. 

What most mature Christians know is that fear is a normal part of our faith life. Fear helps us identify our growing edges. It helps us move beyond our previously perceived limits. We grow best by facing fear — and then moving beyond it.  When fear paralyzes us, we stay where we are and do not grow. 

This is the message Jesus and the angels give to people throughout the Bible. In saying, “Don’t be afraid,” they are telling us not to let fear get the best of us. Rather than be shut down  by our fear, we are ruled by our faith that tells us God is in control, God is with us, God has the situation well in hand, and God will keep us heading in the right direction.

If we want our people to learn to give generously, we need to encourage them to serve in situations where they experience a little fear, someplace outside of their comfort zone. As they learn to trust God in small situations, they will trust God with their finances, too.

So as we head into “stewardship season,” let us hear the words of Jesus reassuring us: “Do not be afraid.”

 

-Rob Blezard, webmaster and editor

Reprint rigths gladly given to congregations for nonprofit use. Just include the following notice: "Copyright (c) 2008, the Rev. Robert Blezard, archive.stewardshipoflife.org. Used by permission."

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