The Fear of Man

One of the most gifted speakers in church history was John Chrysostom—the name comes from a Greek word meaning “golden tongued.” John was sent from Antioch to what was then Constantinople where he preached fearlessly in the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire. His denunciation of the lavish extravagance of the rich and ruling class and his condemnation of excess infuriated many, including Empress Eudoxia who arranged for him to be exiled.

When he was told of his fate, Chrysostom responded: “What can I fear? Will it be death? But you know that Christ is my life, and that I shall gain by death. Will it be exile? But the earth and all its fullness is the Lord’s. Will it be the loss of wealth? But we brought nothing into the world, and can carry nothing out. Thus all the terrors of the world are contemptible in my eyes, and I smile at all its good things. Poverty I do not fear. Riches I do not sigh for. Death I do not shrink from.”

Far too many today are more worried about what people think than about what God thinks. The desire not to offend others (which is not a bad thing in itself) is often elevated to be the most important thing. As a result, many shrink from speaking the truth.

“The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.” Proverbs 29:25

Source: New Testament Illustrations, William Jones