A long, long time ago a small, timid man made a bold move and decided to sell everything he owned in order to move from his home in the east and seek his fortune on the wild American frontier. He traveled west until he found a town that seemed to be to his liking. He bought a saloon there and his business venture soon began to thrive. His establishment was frequently filled with thirsty cowboys and other men from the town.
One day a man rushed into the saloon and shouted, “Big John’s comin’ to town!” Everyone immediately bolted for the door, and, in an instant, the saloon was empty. Curious about the nature of the announcement and the fearful response it brought, the saloonkeeper tentatively made his way outside to see if he could figure out what on earth was happening.
Off to the east he could see a cloud of dust that kept getting bigger. Eventually he could hear the thunderous beat of hooves and could see what it was that was quickly approaching town. He could scarcely believe his eyes! It was the biggest, meanest-looking man he had ever seen! This man must have been 7 feet tall and probably weighed a muscular 350 pounds. He was riding a large buffalo and using a rattlesnake for a whip! And yes, he was headed straight for the saloon!
Terrified, the saloonkeeper dashed back indoors and crouched behind the bar. It was too late to try to run. His only option was to hide and hope that he would somehow survive.
The huge man stopped in front of the saloon and tore the swinging doors off their hinges as he made his dramatic entrance. The timid man hiding behind the bar was not sure whether it was the sound of his heart beating or his knees knocking or the whimpers that he was unable to stifle that gave him away, but the big intruder was aware of his presence. The gigantic man strode toward him, shaking the floor with every step he took. He brought his fist down on the bar with such force that it cracked the boards, and shouted, “Whiskey!”
The small bartender tentatively pushed a bottle of whiskey toward the huge man, who used his bare hands to break the neck off the bottle and downed its contents without stopping for a breath. The drink seemed to calm the man down, and the smaller man thought that perhaps he would be allowed to live. With a newfound hope, he asked, “Sir, would you like another drink?” The big man stared at him with amazement and shouted, “Are you crazy? I’m gettin’ outta here! Big John’s comin’ to town!”
Some people have misplaced fears. Jesus says, “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.”—Luke 12:4-5.