By: Pastor Jarren Rogers
Fear often makes us act in bizarre ways.
Perhaps this is why the Church sometimes behaves in ways counter to their calling when it looks out at the world and is met with fear and anxiety.
Let me take it one at a time. First, anxiety.
Everything around bespeaks the fact that you do not have enough, and supplies are quickly running out. You’re behind. You’re missing out. You need more.
More money. More things. More pleasure. More power.
Our society preaches that message and thereby finds itself crippled with anxiety.
Why? Because we are comparing ourselves with the skinny models on Instagram and the happy men in beer commercials. A pandemic hits, so our first reaction is to hoard food and supplies, after all, there won’t be enough for everyone! We grow concerned about not having enough money for the latest iPhone or the nicest clothes. Even the wealthy worry about losing the treasures they’ve stored up.
This is the soft-spoken anxiety that has infiltrated our culture and frequently rears its ugly head in our churches as well.
What if we are missing out? What if we lose all we’ve gained?
But the Church is battling on two fronts. On one side, anxiety from the narrative of Not Enough, and on the other side, fear of what the future holds.
The talking heads on the news only talk about death, violence, and destruction. It seems as if immorality on the rise. The family unit is being destroyed. 50% of marriages end in divorce. 50% of children born to women in their 20’s are out of wedlock. Christians continue to debate the acceptance of the LGBTQ+ lifestyle.
That’s worrying. It makes the Church fearful of what may happen in the future. Is it hopeless? Will God be nothing more than a passing trend? Has biblical Christianity been lost?
So, we have to ask ourselves: what is the Church’s responsibility in a world injected with anxiety and fearful of the future?
As Christ followers, amidst the anxiety of the “Not Enough” culture, we must choose to live lives of generosity. We don’t get caught up in the trap of comparison, but we live in the Father’s love. We don’t have to chase after the latest because God’s given us enough.
In a world that is fearful of the future, the Church is there to preach truth with grace. We show love without judgment. We poetically speak of a new way and a new kind of God. Our words and deeds pull us away from the puny gods of sex, money, and power and towards a God who treats us as we were created–with dignity, grace, love, and forgiveness.
The Church must–MUST!–preach a different narrative than the anxiety and fear we see around us. We cannot buy into it! And when we talk of hope and live lives of generosity, we point desperate and depleted souls to the abundant and fulfilling presence of God.