“We went to the land to which you sent us and, oh! It does flow with milk and honey! Just look at this fruit! The only thing is that the people who live there are fierce, and their cities are huge and well-fortified. Worse yet, we saw descendants of the giant Anak. Caleb interrupted, called for silence before Moses, and said, “Let’s go up and take the land—now. We can do it.” But the others said, “We can’t attack those people; they’re way stronger than we are.” They spread scary rumors among the People of Israel. (Numbers 13:27-28, 30-32, The Message)

The Israelites had journeyed to the point where they were poised to claim the land God had promised them. Moses dispatched a dozen spies to survey the land and devise a strategy for conquest. However, fear gripped ten of the spies, clouding their vision. It was only Caleb and Joshua who, with unwavering faith, saw the opportunity that lay before them. Unfortunately, the fear spread,
and the people retreated and wandered in the wilderness for forty years. I’ve been privy to unsettling rumors about the future of First UMC, Sarasota.

Some fear that the next pastor may lead FUMC out of the UMC (I assure you that will not come to pass). Others worry about potential changes within the church, such as the loss of beloved ministries. When fear and rumors are allowed to spread, they paralyze us. Let’s follow the example of Caleb and Joshua, who had faith that the battles before them could be won.

Let’s echo the positive voice of Caleb, who said, “We can do it.”

Dr. Sam