2018-10-10 / Columns

The Pastor's Pen

Fear Not, Little Flock
By Pastor Steven McCarthy

Did Jesus have a large church? True, he drew some large crowds, but we also read of a time when those crowds grew so offended at what he said that everyone walked out of the service except twelve people. After three years of spirit-filled ministry, only about 100 people were gathered in an upper room to remember him. Onehundred people is not a large church by national standards, though many of us, if we go to church, attend smaller gatherings than that. If we borrow the image of people as sheep and God as their shepherd, we may feel ourselves a “little flock.”

We may also feel small personally, overwhelmed by the challenges of life. On the other hand, we may feel rather big, strong, and capable. Perhaps we go to a “mega Church,” or at least to one larger than our friends and family members. Maybe we are even tempted to brag about the size of its buildings, or the scope of its programs. We may feel the designation “little flock” is for anyone else. The reality is, however, that next to the infinity of God, we are all small sheep in the “little flock” of humanity. And the weight of our guilt from disobedience to God (what the Bible calls “sin”) is too great for us to bear before him.

Jesus said to his twelve followers: “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:32) It didn’t matter that there were just twelve of them, he was their shepherd. And his Father had a kingdom he was delighted to give them. God’s Kingdom means a relationship to God as your ruler and the restoration by God’s power of everything in the world that is broken.

Jesus’ words come in the midst of his famous teaching on worry. Now, Jesus doesn’t tell us not to worry just so we can feel better. He says, “Instead, seek God’s kingdom, and these things [that you tend to worry about] will be added to you.” In other words, God will take care of your cares for tomorrow, so you can worry about serving him today. God calls us to let go of worry and risk things we hold precious in order to follow him. He will take care of us, and it’s his good pleasure to give us his kingdom. What won’t you let go of in order to gain God’s kingdom? That’s where Jesus says, “Fear not”.

Steven McCarthy is pastor of Walton Reformed Presbyterian Church; 607-865-6481;

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