“When evening came, his [Jesus’] disciples went down to the sea, got into a boat, and started across the sea to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. The sea became rough because a strong wind was blowing. When they had rowed three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they were terrified. But he said to them, ‘It is I; do not be afraid.’ Then they wanted to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the land toward which they were going.” John 6:16-21 (NRSV).
I am often amazed by the disciples and not always in a good way. Sure, there are many characteristics that the disciples of Jesus possessed that we should admire and exemplify, however there are also those times when I want to shake my head and ask, “how could they do that?”
That is the boat that I am in (pun intended) when I read the verses from John’s gospel that I’ve shared above. I want to ask the disciples “how can you be afraid?” After all, they had just recently witnessed Jesus healing the sick and feeding the 5,000. After witnessing those events, it astounds me that the disciples would still be afraid when they see Jesus walking on the water. However, before I think too harshly of the disciples I would do well to remember that they were in the midst of a storm and rough waters; there were external circumstances that helped contribute to their fear.
Fear can become a paralyzing influence in our lives if we let it. Fear can bind us into inaction. I have found few things so heart breaking as churches full of faithful, Christian people acting out of a mentality of fear rather than a mentality of faith.
We have a choice to make: will be, as followers of Jesus Christ, be people of faith or will we be people of fear? People of faith look at change as an opportunity. People of fear view change as an obstacle or hindrance. People of fear look at the balance sheet as the ultimate arbiter of whether or not something should be done. People of faith look at the potential results as the ultimate arbiter as to whether or not to do something. People of faith trust in the provision of God. People of fear doubt whether or not God’s provision will come.
I’ve had experience in churches that were filled with people of faith and others that were filled with people of fear. In the days, months and years to come, we, the people of the Mosinee UMC will have to make dozens of decisions about the life and ministries of our church. Each of these decisions will help us reveal whether we are people of faith or people of fear. My prayer for us all, is that when the final story of Mosinee UMC is written (hopefully many years from now) it will be clear to all that the Mosinee UMC was, indeed, a people of faith.
Until Next Time,