I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him. Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
– Luke 12.4-7
For most of my life, I was unable to read this passage of scripture without feeling anything other than intimidation and insecurity. Thank God, I didn't stop there!
Now when I read this, it feels like Jesus is speaking with an edge of sarcasm. In this short passage he says, "Fear him. Fear him. Don't be afraid." Jesus is addressing something that we are steeped in: Fear. I feel like he's saying, "Alright, well you know whom you should really fear? Fear Him! Yeah, yeah, fear HIM! ... but come on friends, really now, don't be afraid. The One I'm telling you to be afraid of is not really one to be afraid of."
Jesus is addressing a whole culture in this statement, but he could just as much be addressing me personally: scared of people (and a god) who want to take things away from me. In the words of my Sky Farm hermit friend Sr. Michaela, "(Sigh) Fear is useless."
Fear is such an easy emotion and motivation to feel. It takes no effort. It's brainless. That doesn't mean that it is meaningless or worthless, but it does mean that it needs to be opened up, looked into, and taken a look at from greater levels of consciousness, awareness, and faith rather than only on the surface.
As Shawna and I walk into this next season of our lives, we will need to be reminding ourselves of this regularly.