Self-preservation is not all bad. If you were being chased by a Velociraptor it would be helpful. Or when you’re on a plane and they tell you to secure your own oxygen mask before trying to assist others. Seems logical.
But there is another type of self-preservation. It is an inner voice that says “The ship is sinking and it is every man for himself.” It’s like the scene at the end of Titanic where the villain dresses like an old woman so he can secure one of the last seats on a lifeboat. It is utterly dishonorable and yet there is a small part of me that relates.
But the truth is, I don’t want to be that kind of man. I want to be one of guys still playing his violin as the vessel is going down. Or even better, I want to be the one who would charge the lower deck and sludge through neck-deep water to find any left behind.
The actions of the musician and the hero would be crazy if this world was all there is. But it’s not. There is life beyond this life. Self-preservation is a lie. Jesus said those of us who try to save our lives will lose them anyway. But if we are willing defy self-preservation, we will find a true life that can never be taken away. And this discovery can give birth to joy and courage and peace far beyond anything the world has seen.