Fear of the “Hard Man”

As I get ready to start a new year, I keep wondering if I should try and find part time work.  It would be great to use my talents to contribute towards an achievement.

But I worry about the chaos this would cause in my life.  Things wouldn’t be as neat and tidy.  I have a very civilized life where I have time for my ministry, friends and family.  The house, the bills, the errands — all is taken care of.  I can cook healthy meals.  And so on.

As Ken and I listened to the audio Bible while we were on our way to Christmas vacation, I listened to the parable of the talents in Luke.  I was really convicted by the way the servant who had been given one talent defended himself when he hid the talent and didn’t try to increase it.

I was afraid because you are a hard man to deal with, taking what isn’t yours and harvesting crops you didn’t plant.

He was afraid.

Fear taints our decisions about what action to take.

Whatever I decide, I can’t let fear govern my decision.  I do need to be rational, and weigh the outcomes.  But I also need to remember that God will be with me, helping me, setting me up to win!!   I need to make choices for my future based on faith.

And then I looked at the reason the one talent servant was afraid.  He thought the master was a hard man, who took things that didn’t belong to him.

He didn’t believe the master was good.

And it struck me how much we also don’t really believe that God is good.  When it comes down to it, and making a decision with our lives, we don’t believe He’s going to bless us personally — maybe someone else, but not us.  We’re scared things won’t work out.

I always got tripped up on this parable before because it sounds like the master admits he is a hard man —

He said to him, ‘I will condemn you with your own words, you wicked servant! You knew that I was a severe man, taking what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow?

But the master never agrees that these words describe him.  He just asserts that if he is a man to be feared, then at least the servant should have done something.  Instead the servant let his fears rule him.

We have to start seeing God as good, and not as the hard man.  And if our faith in this is weak, then at least our fear of God should motivate us to push ourselves to live righteously, instead of living a tame, comfortable, retreating life.

God LOVES faith. There are so many stories — David and Goliath, Jonathan and his armor bearer, Peter walking on water, the centurion.

God does NOT like it when we allow our fear to paralyze us:  but if he withdraw himself, he shall not please my soul.”  Heb 10:38

It’s not so much making the right choice with my life, as it is stepping out each day with confidence and faith, even boldness, knowing that God is good.  I can’t hoard my life.  I have been given much.  Yes, my actions may cause challenges.  I may make mistakes.  But God will be with me, helping me, and working for good.

God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.  I Tim 1:7

…since we have such a hope, we are very bold.  II Cor 3:12


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