It seems that no matter who we are, we all have fears. Some of those fears are natural, like wild animals charging us, spiders crawling on us, heights, weather events such as hurricanes or tornados, lightning and thunder that surprises us. We struggle with fear more frequently than we care to admit.
Our hearts are constantly torn between fear and faith. That has been obvious the past 18 or so months with COVID-19 spreading throughout the world. It’s the bipolar nature of every Christian who still has sin inside of them (which is all of us), no matter how long we have walked with God or how many feats we’ve seen our God accomplish.
Fear is a natural part of life. Some of them keep us out of danger. But there are a lot of fears that we have to face in our daily lives. We’re afraid we won’t be able to pay our bills, so we don’t give joyfully and liberally to support the work of the congregation or to advance the faith.
We’re afraid of what our neighbors, co-workers or family members will think of us, so we don’t share our faith as vocally as we should.
We’re afraid that we will be rejected, so we don’t lovingly confront a brother or sister in Christ when they most need us to hold them to account.
We’re afraid of looking stupid, so during Bible study, we don’t ask the questions that have been bothering us. We don’t want everyone to know we don’t have all the answers.
We’re afraid of failure, so we don’t attempt to make the most of the gifts that God has given us. If we fail, we’ll look bad.
We’re afraid to leave the comforts of our predictable lives, so we don’t step out into that ministry opportunity because it’s intimidating.
And the list goes on.
How many times do we read, “Do not fear” or “Do not be afraid” in the Bible?
It is there from God telling Adam and Eve that in the Garden of Eden through all the way to Jesus telling his disciples and Paul telling all his listeners not to be afraid.
Some of you may be like I was many years ago, when you consider going to a Lay Servant training. I was afraid that I would have to speak in front of a group or congregation if I was to attend. But God said, “Go,” so I did and discovered that it was much more than that. I have learned much about the history, traditions, and missions of The United Methodist Church. When I first started, it was called Lay Speaker training but has since been changed to Lay Servant Ministry, which includes many topics from which persons interested can choose. God can use not only the most polished speaker or the most learned person to accomplish His will, but he also can use the humblest soul to perform great and mighty things that will glorify His Holy name. Will you add your name to that list?
Phyllis Stoppel is Hutchinson District director of Lay Servant Ministries.