President F.D. Roosevelt came to office in 1933, at the depth of the Great Depression. In his inaugural address, he told our discouraged and demoralized nation, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” By this he meant fear was making the depression worse because it was paralyzing the energy needed to restore the country to prosperity. He urged Americans to reject the insatiable focus on greed and to focus instead on values of work and reliance upon God Almighty. In some respects, FDR was echoing the situation that existed years ago when Moses sent 12 spies to inspect the Promised Land for ancient Israel. Ten spies came back with a report that the land was bountiful all right, but the walls were impossible to breach and the people were huge and strong—too powerful to overcome. This report filled the people with such fear they cried all night, refused to go forward, rejected Moses, and made plans to go back into slavery–all because they lost sight of God’s promise to help them overcome the obstacles. That’s what fear does. It can paralyze us to inaction. That is why people of faith keep their eyes on Jesus Christ to give them wisdom, strength, and courage to keep going.

Dr. Melvin E. Banks, Sr. is the founder and chairman of UMI (Urban Ministries, Inc.). Under his direction, UMI has grown to be a leading publisher of Christian education resources for churches in the African American community. Read More

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