Welcome to Our Community - Pastor Roger Fears
“Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage." Matthew 5:13 The Message
This week we are excited to welcome Pastor Roger Fears as our featured guest. Pastor Roger serves at First Lutheran in Albert Lea, MN. First Lutheran has been a great partner with IOLBC over the years sending many youth to confirmation camp in the summer and various staff alumni having connections to the congregation.
From time to time, we all have experienced anxiety. It can be caused by just about anything. From public speaking to taking a test at school to visiting the doctor, anxiety comes in all shapes and sizes. Often, it can motivate us to be better prepared or to make better choices. Occasionally though, anxiety becomes overwhelming and growing into a fear which can prevent us from being able to do normal, everyday tasks. The National Alliance on Mental Health estimates that 40 million Americans, nearly 1 in 5, suffer from a mental health issue, one of the most common being anxiety. It is one of the most common medical problems in our country.
Why are we so anxious? What does God have to offer for our anxiety?
Our lives today are crammed full of to-do lists and deadlines. Between church, work, school, and family we are constantly on the go. These are all good things, but at some point, our minds and bodies need us to be still and rest. Then, we factor in the unknowns and the emergencies. They can push an already overwhelmed mind and heart to the breaking point. The danger of our time is that we often live far too close to the tipping point where life and stress create overwhelming anxiety.
Confronting the anxieties of life require us to reframe our thoughts. We need a thoughtful and trustworthy way to check our thoughts and emotions. We need a god bigger than ourselves. The Gospel of Jesus Christ does just that for us.
The Message translation of this reading from Matthew’s Gospel is a perfect example of how God can confront the anxieties of our lives and help us to live into God’s promises of goodness. It starts with the phrase: “Let me tell you why you are here.”
Right away Jesus is pulling us back into reality, away from our own distortions. That problem which seems so big - that’s not why you are here. To solve everyone else’s problems - that’s not why you are here. To suffer through life as its waves of difficulty crash over you - that’s not why you are here. To be a slave to your anxiety, real and imagined - that’s not why you are here on this earth. Jesus responds, telling us: “You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth.”
Just as important as what Jesus says here is what he does not say. He does not say you are here to do everything perfect nor to make everything perfect. You are not here to create the earth - as if we could. You are not here to atone for the sin of world (hint - that has been taken of). You are here to be salt that brings out the God-flavors of this world.
Let that sink in. You are not here to do everything and to conquer the world. Everything that needs to be done for you has already been accomplished in Jesus Christ. The grace and salvation he has given to you is the seasoning you take out into the world with you. It is who you are. Where you go, Christ goes.
Let this truth help to reframe the anxiety that burdens you. Whenever you find yourself in a moment of difficulty or a challenge which seems too big, remember that Jesus is with you. He is beside you. He is journeying with you; his promise of faithfulness to you is greater than anything that can threaten to assail you.
There is no place you can go beyond his reach and his comforting presence. Lean into him. Taste the goodness of God. Then take it with you, assured that you are free.
Go in peace, serve the Lord.
- If you would like to know more about First Lutheran in Albert Lea, you can check out their website by clicking HERE.
- For more information on mental health issues, including anxiety, you can visit the website for the National Alliance on Mental Health by clicking HERE. Additionally, if you or someone you know is having a mental health crisis, you can reach out for support and resources by calling 800-950-6264 or by calling or texting 988.
- What makes you most anxious right now in your life? How are you coping with the feelings of anxiousness? Are they long term and seemingly always there, or are the specifically related to an event such as an upcoming review at work or doctor's appointment?
- How do you make sure you have time to rest, physically, spiritually, and emotionally, so you avoid getting overwhelmed and burnt out?