Contemplating Oz: Fear and Courage

Life Notes—October 10, 2013 

  “Be strong and of good courage, and act.  Do not be afraid or dismayed; for the Lord God, my God, is with you.  He will not fail you or forsake you, until all the work for the service of the house of the Lord is finished.”  1 Chronicles 28:20b-21

“Courage is being afraid but going on anyhow.”  Dan Rather

In the movie The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy and her companions are walking through a dark forest when confronted by a lion.  The lion acts brave until Dorothy stands up to him.  Then the lion reveals his true nature: he is a coward.  He tearfully says, “I haven’t any courage at all.  I even scare myself.”  Similar to the Scarecrow and Tin man, what he actually lacks is confidence in the abilities he already possesses.  Near the end, the Wizard gives the lion a metal for courage and says, “As for you, my fine friend, you’re a victim of disorganized thinking. You are under the delusion that simply because you run away from danger you have no courage. You are confusing courage with wisdom.”

King David spent his years on the throne reuniting the people of Israel.  The crowning achievement of his time as king was to be the building of the Temple—a permanent home for the worship of God.  However, God tells David he will not be allowed to build the Temple because the reuniting of the people came at a violent price in blood and treasure.  David’s son, Solomon, would build the Temple.  Solomon, who became the wisest and wealthiest of all the Jewish kings, was just a boy when tasked to build the Temple.  He was awed by the daunting load placed on his shoulders and, no doubt, feared the consequences of failure.  Before he died, David told Solomon to “Be strong and of good courage, and act.”  Indeed, courage manifests in action.

There are times we must act in spite of our fear.  It is in our acts that our courage, or lack thereof, becomes apparent.  Being courageous does not mean we act foolishly.  It means we have a worthy goal that justifies the risk of taking action.  The Cowardly Lion did not lose his fear in search of his courage.  He found a higher purpose that motivated him to act in spite of his fear.  In his community, and on behalf of his companions, he was able to act in ways unimaginable before.  He drew strength from the needs of his community, uncovering his courage in the process.  Many things cause fear in our lives.  Fear can paralyze us into inaction, thereby perpetuating our fear and cowardice.  However, when we find a higher purpose, something worthy of bold action, our fears recede into the background.

Tom will be preaching downtown where Life worship is at 10:00 in Brady Hall and traditional worship is at 8:30 and 11:00 in the sanctuary.  Mitch is preaching at the west campus where contemporary worship is at 9:00 and 11:00.

Come home to church this Sunday.  Do not be afraid to have a heart for others.

Greg Hildenbrand, Life Music Coordinator

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