Friday, September 25, 2015: Ezra 4; Psalms 113, 127; Luke 9
When the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the returned exiles were building a temple to the Lord, the God of Israel, 2 they approached Zerubbabel and the heads of families and said to them, “Let us build with you, for we worship your God as you do, and we have been sacrificing to him ever since the days of King Esar-haddon of Assyria who brought us here.” 3 But Zerubbabel, Jeshua, and the rest of the heads of families in Israel said to them, “You shall have no part with us in building a house to our God; but we alone will build to the Lord, the God of Israel, as King Cyrus of Persia has commanded us.”4 Then the people of the land discouraged the people of Judah, and made them afraid to build, 5 and they bribed officials to frustrate their plan throughout the reign of King Cyrus of Persia and until the reign of King Darius of Persia.
Do you ever wonder what exactly made the people afraid to build the temple? What kind of questions and doubts were put into their minds that would cause them to cease their progress? Why would a faith community NOT WANT to build; NOT want to grow; NOT want to be a presence in the community?
Scripture does not tell us the nature of the fear, but I suspect that it is deeply engrained in the human spirit – fear of change; fear of failure (or even fear of success); fear of the responsibility that comes with being a central place of faith identity.
What are your fears when the church wants to change? When we are honest to confront our fears and concerns, we are better able to handle them and work around and through them. Change is difficult; growth is challenging – but it is also the essence of life. To life!