“Come, brothers and sisters, and listen to me, and I will teach you the fear of the Lord.” Psalm 34:11
Fear of the Lord? Who wants that? If you ask the Bible you’ll find lots of teachings like that Psalm, like Proverbs 1.7: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
One of my missions as a Christian and a pastor is teaching, learning and, I hope, gaining a little wisdom. If these scriptures are God’s Word then surely it’s my job to guide everyone into the fear of the Lord, right?
Good news! What the Bible means by fear is the kind of awe, wonder, and respect a person can feel when one is truly awake to the presence of God; it’s not about the emotional and physical response one feels in the presence of a hungry tiger. It’s not about terror or even anxiety. It’s about a palpable awareness that we live each moment in the presence of a God of love, creator of Heaven and Earth and Us.
My dream for Faith United Methodist Church is that all of us will be on the path to wisdom. I know from experience what can happen. Every time someone undertakes a Bible study that person will come to know the awe-wonder-fear of the Lord. They’ll grow and change in powerful ways. And each time even one person grows in the grace-awe-wonder-love of God, the church changes. And the world changes.
World’s change one person at a time and we’ve got a lot of world changers at work in our little church on South Lamar! That’s awesome and hope giving, don’t you think? Many here among us serve the Lord in mission and service, worship and prayer, who study the Bible and teach it to others. I want to celebrate them all. Each is a powerful witness to a hurting, fearful world.
In the wake of so many natural disasters and human tragedies in recent years, great recessions and losses of confidence, when people ask “What can I do?” I want to point to our world changers and say, “How about some of that?” Join a prayer group. Join a Bible study. Be in worship on Sunday. Join a Sunday School group and learn and offer up your love and support. Help one person find healing and hope and you, too, will change the world.
We need a lot more wise people in the world, making wise decisions, doing wise things. According to Scripture wisdom begins with the awe-wonder-fear of the Lord. I’m making a new commitment in my quest for wisdom. Want to join me? It begins each day by turning to God in prayer. Ask God, “What can I do?” Then be still and listen. Sooner or later the answer will come and wisdom will come and you’ll go and change the world.
Blessings to you in all your ways,
To find out more about what’s coming up at Faith United Methodist Church, Austin, click on this news link.