Bethany Hamilton, a famous Christian surfer who suffered a life-altering shark attack, once said, “Courage doesn’t mean you don’t get afraid. Courage means you don’t let fear stop you.”
This week as we continue in our “Taking the Next Step” generosity series, we will read about Jesus asking Peter to be courageous and step out of the boat. After leaving the feeding of the 5,000, the disciples were on a spiritual high when Jesus calls out to them from the middle of the storm. Even amidst the abundance of God’s power and grace, Peter is, naturally, afraid. All of the disciples are! But Peter doesn’t let fear stop him. He steps out of the boat courageously to walk towards Jesus. Even when he falters and begins to sink, Jesus compassionately catches him. In this, Jesus reminds him that God will be present in our courage and our fears. As we discuss all of these themes, we will remind ourselves that in “taking the next step,” God is calling us to true courage in stepping out and hearing God’s call to abundant things in our lives.
This week in worship we will also honor our veterans. As we approach Veteran’s Day, I have been reflecting on my courage and the courage of our society. We honor and revere the veterans among us for the sacrifices they and their families have made for our freedoms. While they may have been afraid, they didn’t let their fears stop them, and instead courageously fought for our country. As a civilian, I am indebted to them for their courage to overcome their fears for my safety.
When I think about veterans and their sacrifices, it makes me wonder about the places in my life where I have not been courageous enough to step out into the storm. I think about how God calls me, and often, I’d rather just hide under the covers! In our “Taking the Next Step” series, I have been challenged to think about where God would want me to be in my giving and my discipleship, too. Together, as a church, we’ll continue to ask, “Lord, where do you want me to be in my giving?” In this, we’ll reflect on Jesus calling us out of the safety of our finances and towards following his call. Will you take the next step, joining Jesus and being generous with your resources? I invite you to read Matthew 14:22-33 ahead of worship and reflect on that.
I had one other note: Staff-Parish Relations Committee wanted you all to know that Jill Kibler submitted her letter of resignation and her last day was Friday, November 8th. While we are certainly very sad that Jill will not be here to lead our compassionate care so fearlessly, we are excited for her new opportunities and the work God is doing in her life. I know I speak for many when I say that Jill has helped so many of us follow God without fear. She has been a vital part of our staff and she will certainly be missed in this role, although she will still be serving and worshiping here at Suntree UMC. Please thank Jill if you see her for all her work as she helped us live into our vision to love God and neighbor in extraordinary ways.
See you Sunday,