Fear Not

Jon Opgenorth

Read: Matthew 9:38; 10:16-33

Pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest . . . (9:38)

Before I became president of Words of Hope, passages like Matthew 10:16-33 seemed to belong to a different time.

Nothing in my experience comes close to the kind of trials described in this chapter. In North America, most of us have little fear of being dragged before authorities, imprisoned, tortured, or suffering any physical harm for our belief in Jesus.

Nowadays, hardly a week goes by that I do not meet or speak with someone who is in real danger. I spent time recently with a pastor in the West African country of Niger whose church and house were burned by Islamic militants. I will not soon forget his fearless eyes. “They can burn our churches, they can burn our houses,” he told me, “but they cannot take Jesus away.” True, and our Father is poised and attuned: “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father . . . Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows” (Matt. 10:29-31).

You may not ever live through that kind of trouble. But there are other challenging places God will call you to go: building relationships with difficult neighbors, welcoming new immigrants to town, working for justice in your community, sharing your faith with co-workers. Even then, don’t be anxious, “for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you” (v. 20). The Lord of the harvest is with each harvester. —Jon Opgenorth

As you pray, ask God for courage to speak about him today.