St John's Lutheran Church, La Grange IL 60525 (LCMS)

St. John's Lutheran Church and School
47th Street and Brainard Avenue, La Grange, Illinois 60525

 
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The Fear of Getting It Right
April 15, 2012

Tuesday is tax day and one that many look upon with dread. I suspect that many have the same feeling as I do. I don’t despise my citizen’s duty to pay my taxes. The problem is the complexity of tax law and the fear of getting everything right in this obligatory report.

I’m not up to this task of such legal complexity; such knowledge is beyond my abilities. For more than 25 years, I’ve turned to professional services. Nearly all of those years have been in the very capable and godly hands of a man I trust. I take solace from this very real “fear of getting it right” because I trust the one whose hands are doing this work on my behalf. I’ve put my life’s integrity and finances in his hands.

The fear of getting it right isn’t confined to taxes. There’s the fear of getting it right when a cancer patient puts their trust in the treatment plan; when the student hands in the final exam; when the leader makes a decision; when a man and a woman commit to marriage. There are many situations that ignite our fears in our uncertainty if we got it right and the potential consequences that may occur.

Whatever the situation may be, at some point we are brought to a point outside of ourselves, a place of trust. The trust we place in others in the various fearful moments I’ve described is only a shadow of the place where our true trust lies. Since we can’t get it right and master the demands and complexity of law—whether of men, nature of God—we need professional help. We need someone to trust who can get it right every time. This is Jesus. This is the only way our fear moves to faith.

There are many religious truth claims as to who “gets it right.” Only the Christian faith puts getting it right in God’s most capable hands. Every other world view—religious or irreligious—puts the burden of getting it right in our hands. Jesus shows us his hands, feet and side as the one we can trust to make it right. His body was crucified for all that is wrong and the law condemns. His body was raised to life with the report that God got it right for us. No other faith makes such a claim. Some conclude: impossible, outrageous, nonsense. We believe it’s the only alternative we have to our own flawed existence.

Unlike our tax returns, Jesus makes it simple and clear for us. “Peace be with you,” he says. “if you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven.” (c.f. John 20:21-23). There’s no hidden conditions or loop holes. He makes it right. Period. When he says, “forgiven,” it’s forgiven. When he says, “I am the life,” we’ve got it.

Simple and clear, however, doesn’t make it easy. It is the ongoing struggle of the skeptic within us who imagines there must be something more. We also have this proud spirit that says we must fight our own battles. We possess an equally formidable critic that argues we can’t possibly get it right. And there’s the doubter in our mind who questions whether this is all absolutely true. In all our conflicts Jesus is reaching out to us. The better we know him, the more distance he’ll put between fear and faith.

My accountant’s name is Danny. He’s not a stranger. He is a dear friend and throughout the years a fellow partner in the word and prayer. When you’re faced with trusting someone with your life—one who time and time again has been faithful to get it right—you not only know his name, you remain friends. I’m not afraid to put that tax return in the mail because I know who put it together on my behalf.

Danny and I both have Jesus’ name, and so do you. Danny and I call him, “friend,” and so do you. We know that when the Day of Judgment comes and our report is due, there will be no fear. No tax will remain unpaid, no sin will be unforgiven, no threat of death will be held over us. Fear not, Jesus got it right!

 

 

(c)2012 St. John's Lutheran Church and School | 505 S Park RD | La Grange IL 60525 www.sjlagrange.com
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Pastor's Blogs

Bill Geis has led a variety of missional ministries for over 20 years. He has served as senior pastor of St. John's Lutheran Church in La Grange, Illinois since 2004. He is the proud father of teenage daughters, Erica and Monica. His partner in ministry and in marriage, Sandi Geis, serves with him on the team at St. John's as prayer ministry leader, devotional writer and music teacher. He has a passion and calling to rally Christian communities and disciples to help people Meet Jesus in authentic and life changing ways.

 
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