Mind better occupied with God than with fear

Curtis Shelburne

Recently I decided that it might be interesting to start making a list—a list of the things the media tell us we should be afraid of.

If you focused just on the morning shows in a two-week period, I’m betting you’d find that on every day, multiple times more often than not, the morning news folks help us start our day by informing us of something new to scare us.

You know what I mean. Supposed news items about how, though we’ve been told that some herbal supplements are good for you, now somebody has found that most of them contain stuff like lead or arsenic or pesticides.

Or . . . things like Granola cereal and vegetable juice are good for you, right? No, they’re scary. Granola cereal is packed with calories. One can of vegetable juice has more than a quarter of a whole day’s allotment of salt.

Baby cribs will eat your baby.

Coffee is bad for you. No, wait for ten minutes and in come the reports that coffee is very good for you. I believe the latter. But since moderation is the key, I’m hoping to cut down to two pots a day. Just call me a health nut.

Car seats properly installed save lives. True, but the vast majority of them aren’t properly installed (since most of us don’t have Ph.D’s and the dadgum things are complicated). So thousands of children are at risk.

Kids are being snatched in shopping malls and grocery stores at alarming rates. Well, any is too many, but, actually, no, the rate is, thankfully, very low.

Two fairly recent “Be afraid! Be very afraid!” stories that are my own favorites are these: 1) American children are not being taught to be assertive enough. Right. Have the researchers ever actually met any American children?! 2) Short people (guys less than 5’5” and gals less than 5’0”) have a 50 percent increased chance of heart disease. So are they supposed to think tall thoughts? Or are we all, short or tall, just supposed to “Be afraid! Be very afraid!” and be depressed, too?

Evidently so.

Pastor Thomas Lindberg says that, according to the stats, Americans average swallowing 9 tons of sleeping pills and another 15 tons of aspirin every day. Our nation has only 4 percent of the world’s population, but we consume 96 percent of the world’s tranquilizers.

A physician friend told me that in his town, half the populace is on antidepressants. No, wait. What he actually said is that half the pastors in his town are on antidepressants. These are the folks who preach regularly about peace. Since I’m a pastor, that stat caught my attention.

By the way, I’m told that studies also show that 80 percent of those who enter the professional ministry these days will last in ministry less than five years. And I can only imagine how stressful life must be for the rest of you who don’t have such a cushy job and work more than one day a week!

I need to sign off and go take my Paxil, but before I do, I might just encourage you to pay less attention to the “Be afraid! Be very afraid!” stuff on tomorrow’s morning show. And I’m gonna forget making the list I mentioned. I think I’d be better occupied by making a much weightier list of all the reasons God gives me to focus on him and drink deeply of his joy.