A couple of fears haunt me and never seem to go away. They periodically shape my dreams. Sometimes I catch myself randomly thinking about them during the day. One of these fears is needing to collect money from the people on my paper route. Only I haven’t been delivering them papers for years. Another one is having to play the french horn in front of a group of judges. Except, I haven’t played the french horn in 35 years and have no idea how to do it anymore.
The worst one is a fear no one will show up to an event I am leading. This one is not confined to my sleep or random thoughts. It’s on my mind all the time. It manifests itself every time I preach. If worship attendance is low, I assume the word got out I was preaching. Do you ever catch yourself judging a Facebook post you made by the number of “likes” it receives?
Volume is a cultural measuring stick for success and thus for value. The volume of friends, or relationships, determines popularity among young people. In the work place, the number of people we influence, or the volume of our productivity determines value. Even as adults, we continue to determine social value by how many people you know. And, are they the right people?
I loved this morning’s reading because it brought comfort to my fearful soul. Moses reminds the people of Israel that God did not set his heart upon them because of volume. God set his heart upon them solely because God loved them.
We all have private fears that haunt our sleep and public fears which influence our behavior. Some are rational, but most are not. Many of our fears are grounded in a desire to know we are loved. So if you find fear starting to consume you, say to yourself, “God set his heart upon me and loves me just the way I am.” (Deut. 7:7-8)