October 18, 2018

Pastoral Nuggets: The Fear of Change

Brother-Aaron-236x300Speaking about the Demoniac of the Gadarenes, Dr. Joel Hunter said, “We fear change more than crazy.

It was easier for Jesus to heal the sick man than to deal with those who had built a life around the sick man!”  Wow! They had compartmentalized his craziness. His craziness was their normal. They knew what to expect.

But when Jesus healed him and cast all those demons into their pigs, and their pigs killed themselves, they no longer knew what to expect. Change had been forced upon them and they didn’t like it. Oh yea, they wanted the man healed.

They just didn’t want their pigs destroyed in the process! In fact, I preach a sermon from this text that I have entitled: Lord, Please Solve Our Problems – But Save Our Pigs! That was their mantra and it is ours! It’s amazing to me the amount of “crazy” that people will put up with because they don’t like change and they don’t want anybody messing with their pigs!

Jesus also addresses change in John 12: 24-25(KJV) when He said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.”

What is Jesus saying in this scripture? He is saying that unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground and dies, (changes) it will never be any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried and dies, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. He also states that the same is true of us.

Anybody that holds on to their life “as it is” – destroys that life. They will never be more than they currently are. But if they let go, surrender it to Him, become buried in Him, then they’ll have it forever!

I love my daddy. And nobody, and I do mean nobody, ever had a greater father than me. He and my momma raised four kids on a cotton miller’s pay. It’s the only job I ever knew him to have.

I think he worked on the same job for about forty years. One day, after he retired, (I was a grown man at this point) he was telling me how difficult it was to provide for his family on the salary he earned at the cotton mill. Of course, why he stayed all those years was a mystery to me.

So, I asked him, “Daddy, why didn’t you quit and get a better job?” He looked at me and said, “Boy!  I had responsibilities.

I had children to raise and bills to pay. And a bird in the hand was worth two in the bush!” And as much as I love him and as noble as I think his intentions and actions were, the truth of the matter is, most likely he feared change more than poverty. Poverty was a known commodity to him. Besides, everybody else we knew was in poverty too!

The truth of this column is:  Sometimes you have to give up – to go up.  Sometimes you have to take a chance.  Sometimes, to borrow a poker term, you have to go “all in!”  Sometimes you have to risk failure in order to succeed.

We are creatures of habit. We tend to gravitate to what we know and run in the circles in which we are comfortable. And the sad truth is that sometimes we fear SUCCESS more than failure.

After all, considering our circumstances, nobody really expects us to succeed anyway, right? Wrong! We should expect ourselves to succeed. Why?  Because Jesus does! He created us with a purpose. So, let’s determine to live up to that purpose. Let’s take a chance, die to ourselves, live in Him, and see what He will do through us!

You see, success doesn’t mean being the best. Success means being what God created us to be. And remember, 100% of all unplanted seeds never produce what God placed in their DNA to produce! (Reread that last sentence!) Let’s determine not to let the fear of change paralyze us!

Brother Aaron

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