I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him! Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.
It seems rather silly now to think of how scared I was to lose their friendship, but impressionable adolescents are not good at distinguishing what is truly important in life. I recalled what it was like before I had those friends, and I could not imagine life going back to that. I could not recognize that those friendships and that stage of life would be only for a moment. Everything seemed more critical and everlasting than that. I thought that was life itself. So I followed them in their good decisions and their bad ones, and I thought I had it all. I now realize that life was much more than those friendships. Life was much more than the status those friends could give me. I was afraid of losing the life I had with them, but that was not really life at all.
Fear can lead us to believe that things are much more than they really are. Today’s scripture drives that point home with a very dramatic but true example. We make decisions out of fear in this life because we really are afraid of losing it, but life is more than what we live here in these temporary bodies and this temporary world. When these vessels are no more, we still live on. The scripture is telling us to have a right perspective of what actually matters. When we are able to look at things critically and see the truth, then we understand how irrational even the fear of dying really is. To be afraid of the one who can strip us of these vessels yet cause us no more harm is folly. We need not fear losing that which is meant to be temporary or the one who comes to take it.
Scripture uses many examples to illustrate what life actually is. It is more than the body and more than the bread. To fear losing that which inevitably will be lost, or to fear the one who can take only that which we are destined to lose anyway, is not sensible. It is fear that causes us to try to hold on to things which God wants us to be comfortable losing. It is clear from scripture that to die is gain, so why would we fear that? If even death should not scare us, how could anything really cause us fear? Father, please give us the proper spiritual perspective of those things which make us fearful, and remind us that there is no reason to fear the loss of the temporary or the one who brings that loss.