What are you afraid of?

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22 November 2017

As we head towards the end of the liturgical year, we are presented with parables that are all about what people do while they are waiting.

In the Parable of the Minas the servants of a nobleman are entrusted with one mina each—a currency equivalent to about three month’s wages. The nobleman departs to receive a kingdom and a crown. He returns to his own country a king, only to discover that some of his servants were faithful but at least one was not.

We are told that the unfaithful servant was unwilling to receive what he had been given. Furthermore, he ignored the King’s command to put his mina to good use. For this, he ends up in utter poverty. The unfaithful servant’s response was ‘I was afraid.’

It’s tempting for us to duck for cover and search for an easy way of conforming to the status. But this kind of self-preservation is what Jesus is exhorting against. In this parable, it is the unfaithful servant, who tries to avoid risk, and by doing so wastes his vocation.

Who or what are you most afraid of? What is the fear that orders and drives your life?

If we answer this question honestly, we will know how and why our life is structured the way it is.

Consider Jeremiah in the Old Testament, who was called by God to be a prophet as a very young man. The message he was required to deliver aroused great hostility, especially in his native city. Even his relatives conspired against him and betrayed him, yet he faithfully delivered the message God had given him.

Was he afraid? Yes of course. But it was not the primary motivating force of his life. Jeremiah was more fearful of God. He was more fearful of falling out of a relationship with God and of not doing what God wanted him to do. That fear became his defining and driving force, motivating him to fulfil the call of God in his life.

More than the loss of money, health, power and the esteem of others, we should be afraid of losing intimacy with God.

It can be so tempting to duck for cover and hid our gifts instead of investing them. Let’s not allow fear to cause us to miss the vocation and purpose of our lives.

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