Summary: Truly we live in a time that is frantic with fear. Being cautious will allow us to work in God’s Kingdom while living in fear will cause the Kingdom to shut down.
Trepidation Is Not a Dinosaur
5-year old Johnny was in the kitchen as his mother made supper. She asked him to go into the pantry and get her a can of tomato soup, but he didn’t want to go in alone. "It’s dark in there and I’m scared." She asked again, and he persisted. Finally she said, "It’s OK--Jesus will be in there with you." Johnny walked hesitantly to the door and slowly opened it. He peeked inside, saw it was dark, and started to leave when all at once an idea came, and he said: "Jesus, if you’re in there, would you hand me that can of tomato soup?"
One summer night during a severe thunderstorm a mother was tucking her small son into bed. She was about to turn the light off when he asked in a trembling voice, "Mommy, will you stay with me all night?" Smiling, the mother gave him a warm, reassuring hug and said tenderly, "I can’t dear. I have to sleep in Daddy’s room." A long silence followed. At last it was broken by a shaky voice saying, "The big sissy!"
Psychologists tell us that we are born with two fears, the fear of falling and the fear of noise; but the older we get the more fears we create. I have often wondered how many different kinds of "phobias" there are. I don’t have a compete list but here are a few that I found interesting:
Peladophobia: fear of baldness and bald people.
Aerophobia: fear of drafts.
Porphyrophobia: fear of the color purple.
Chaetophobia: fear of hairy people.
Levophobia: fear of objects on the left side of the body.
Dextrophobia: fear of objects on the right side of the body.
Calyprophobia: fear of obscure meanings.
Thalassophobia: fear of being seated.
Stabisbasiphobia: fear of standing and walking.
Odontophobia: fear of teeth.
Graphophobia: fear of writing in public.
Phobophobia: fear of being afraid.
- Fraser Kent, Nothing to Fear, , Doubleday & Company, 1977
Truly we live in a time that is frantic with fear. We have door locks, and deadbolts, and alarm systems, and big mean dogs. We drive with our windows up and our doors locked. Now I am not saying that there is no reason to be cautious, but I think that there is a difference between caution and living in fear. Being cautious will allow us to work in God’s Kingdom while living in fear will cause the Kingdom to shut down. Let’s look at some of our fears.
We fear failure
Remember in Matthew 25 the parable of the Talents? A Master goes away and leaves one servant 5 talents, one Servant gets two talents and the last servant gets one. When the Master returns he wants to settle up with his servants. Let’s read verses 24-25
He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’
Fear of failure caused the one talent man to do nothing. This is probably the greatest single reason that we do nothing in the church today. We are afraid to spend the Lord’s money on a project that will not go as planned so we do nothing. We are afraid that we would never be able to reach our goal so we do nothing. And we have forgotten where our Power lies.
The church that I worked with in Atlanta was in a growing part of town in the 1950’s but over time the industry had moved out and the community had become less than desirable. We had many members who were afraid to come to the building at night, and the building was being robbed and vandalized on a monthly basis. So after much discussion and congregational surveys they decided to sell the building and move to a safer place.
Before the building was actually placed on the market a buyer inquired about the property and offered them more than they were going to ask for. Excitement filled the air and they set out to look for new property. But after a week of looking the members began to ask “What if” questions. What if we can’t find the right piece of land? What if we can’t find a building we like? What if we don’t have enough money? What if we can’t agree on colors? What if…?
Fear paralyzed that church, and they quickly overlooked all that God was doing, broke the contract to sell the building and 3 years later they are still in the same location. The community is a little worse, the building still gets broken into, and the older members still won’t come at night.