Perspective in life is everything.
per•spec•tive /pərˈspektiv/ the capacity to view things in their true relations or relative importance
Have you ever lost perspective?
Søren Kierkegaard, the Danish philosopher, poet, theologian, social critic and religious author once said, “The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.”
In this life, perspective is everything!
We can see a problem as a burden or an opportunity.
We can see the rain as an irritant or a gift that supports life.
We can see the poor as a nuisance or we can see the poor as a chance to meet God.
We can see difficult times as God’s curse or we can see difficult times to grow patience, character and hope.
We see the glass half empty or half full.
When Goliath came against the Israelites, the soldiers all thought, “He’s so big we can never kill him.” David looked at the same giant and though, “He’s so big I can’t miss.”
Abraham Lincoln once said, “We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.”
Jesus taught us to pray a prayer of perspective daily when he said, “May your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
I call this “The prayer of the cup that is half full.”
I grew up in church where I was taught that this world was going to hell in a hand-basket and that we were supposed to get saved from our sins and then hide out and hold on until Jesus comes back.
That was very unbiblical.
Jesus came proclaiming that the cup was half full, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me; he has appointed me to preach Good News to the poor; he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted and to announce that captives shall be released and the blind shall see, that the downtrodden shall be freed from their oppressors, and that God is ready to give blessings to all who come to him.”
Doesn’t sound like hiding out and holding on to me.
Jesus’ prayer was that his kingdom would come, right now, on earth as it is in heaven, then he commissioned and enabled the church to storm the gates of hell and rescue the poor, the blind, the lost, the addicted, the judged, the hungry and the gates would not prevail.
Name some kind of hell someone is living in, and Jesus has demanded and empowered us to go there and rescue them.
In my opinion, Jesus never intended for the church to look like it does today.
There is a lot of resources going to the “already convinced” and most programs are designed to placate the “already converted” and there are a lot of empty buildings and wasted space, except for an hour or two on Sundays.
Jesus always intended the church to be on the leading edge of rescuing people from hopelessness, brokenness, darkness and despair.
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice.” Isaiah 58:6
It looks like Harry Rheder and Steve Baker who lead an auto-ministry overseeing dozens of volunteers, fixing cars for single moms so they can get to work and have safe transportation for their children.
It looks like a local auto sales owner, Ron Wells, who regularly gives cars away for single moms and those trying to get back up on their feet and Marty Robinson, who owns a local mechanic shop who donates parts so the auto ministry can continue to flourish, even though they may actually be taking business away from him.
It looks like Marsha Rose meeting weekly with the mentally ill, who have been forgotten and marginalized, to create life-saving support and letting them know the love of God.
It looks like Paul Geddes, who is passionate about farming, who helps plant and maintain a 20,000 square foot volunteer garden to supply fresh fruits and vegetables to the hungry.
It looks like an 82 year old, Berkeley graduate, civil engineer, Art Edwards, spending his twilight years running a non-profit transitional homeless shelter, and against all odds, is helping people move from despair to dignity and hope.
It looks like a 10 year old girl, Claire Cockrell, who after seeing a movie on the true Isaiah 58 fast and how a $10 mosquito net prevents malaria, so she goes to her local public school and raises $1000 to purchase 100 nets and saves hundreds of lives.
It looks like Justin Morsey, in his early twenties, who moved to the Philippines to a very dangerous, religiously militant area where being a Christian puts your life at risk, and became a director of a home where young girls who have been sex trafficked and have been rescued, are rehabilitating and learning about real love, by seeing a young man of integrity who respects women and loves God.
It looks like a retired, firefighter Doug Shelstad, walking the halls of our local hospital, praying for the sick and introducing the dieing to a Savior who offers eternal life.
When people start viewing and expressing the Gospel, “May your kingdom come, may your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” through their passions and talents and resources, injustice is fought at ever level.
How’s your perspective these days?
My prayers lately have been a Mother Teresa prayer:
How are your prayers lately?
Are your prayers, “Jesus, there is no hope, I’m digging a bunker, the government is a mess, I’m going to play it safe, I’m going to let fear control me and pessimism be my guide.”
Our can you pray boldly, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
Will you live with the perspective that light trumps darkness and love defeats evil and the unseen is more powerful than the seen.
Will you dream big dreams and live with the attitude that in God’s kingdom THE GLASS IS HALF FULL AND IT’S GETTING FULLER!
Will you live with two promises, “That nothing can separate us from the love of God” and “One day, suffering, striving, sickness, injustice will cease and he will wipe every tear from your eyes.”