On Stewardship and the Orthodox Life - Part 48: Do Not Be Afraid

“…perfect love casts out fear.” (1 John 4:18 RSV)

Many people are full of doubts. They are unsure of the future. They are unsure of their relationships. They are unsure even about God and salvation. This often puts such people into a position of fear. It is especially the fear of the future that so often takes away any joy in the present. When we fear for our children, our world, our health, our world – we fear things we perhaps ought to fear. But, more often than not we fear things that need not be feared.

Take, for example, one of the greatest stewards in the Scriptures. St. Mark tells the story of Jesus watching people in the temple area. Some are placing large sums of money into the temple treasury. Jesus points out to His disciples the poor widow and her fearless action. She had deep trust and virtually no fear: she placed two copper coins into the treasury as her gift. What made this a fearless act? It was all the money she had. This woman had no fear for her future. She did what she needed to do at that moment, fearlessly.

The Old Testament Prophet Elias ran for his life in fear. He had fearlessly conquered the prophets of Ba’al alone. But he was now on the hit list of the wicked Queen Jezebel. Disappearing into the wilderness, Elias in confronted by God (see 1 Kings 19). God revealed Himself to the Holy Prophet in the still, small voice – in a place where the Prophet did not expect it. He wanted to find God in the strength of the wind. He wanted to have God be something the Prophet wanted him to be. But God was not in the strength of the wind. In a still, small voice, God commanded Elias to return to his work. Gently, and without coercion, God revealed Himself and His will to Elias. And receiving God’s instruction in this way, Elias regained his fearlessness. When God gives us a task to do, we are to carry it out without fear. We may have to listen closely for it, but God does have a task for us to do fearlessly.

In the life of an Orthodox steward, God has charged us with the task of caring for the gifts that God has given us. The decisions we make about how we use the gifts of time, talent and treasure are often made out of fear. “What will happen if…?” “If I give time to this, I won’t be able to… “ “If I give money here, will I have enough to…?”

The fearless widow had a task to do, and did it fearlessly. The prophet Elias was given a task to do by God Himself; Elias overcame his fear and did it. “…perfect love casts out fear.”

 This weekly series of brief thoughts on stewardship and Orthodox life is brought to you by your Diocesan Stewardship Commission.

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