Monday, May 7, 2012

Life Is a Matter of Perspective

A businessman was driving through the countryside, when he passed an elderly man sitting on a fence watching all the cars pass. Finding this character to be interesting, he stopped and spoke to him. He said, “I could never be happy doing what you are doing. Just sitting and watching the traffic pass must get boring.” The old man replied, “I do not see much difference between you and me. I sit on the fence and watch the cars pass. You sit in your car and watch the fences pass.”

To please his father a freshman went out for track. He had not athletic ability, though the father had been a good miler in his day. His first race was a two-man race in which he ran against the school miler. He was beaten badly. Not wanting to disappoint his father, he wrote, “You will be happy to know that I ran against Bill Williams, the best miler in school. He came in next to last while I came in second.” (Bits & Pieces, September 17,1992, p.12)

A young couple rented a vacation cottage for a week. One afternoon the husband looked out a window at the swimming pool and exclaimed, “Let’s change our clothes and go get some exercise!” His wife, who was washing the dishes in the kitchen and looking out the window watching some people playing tennis, quickly agreed. While she dressed for a tennis match, he put on his swimming trunks. The window a person chooses to look out at the world often determines that individual’s perception of reality. (Lyle Schaller, Activating the Passive Church)

Our perspective determines in large measure how we view the world around us. Our perspective helps determine our reality. This is why two people can look at exactly the same event and have two conflicting realities. This is the reason that it is important that our perspective on life be based on a solid foundation. If it is not, we can draw some dangerous conclusions that make perfect sense.

The writer of Proverbs understood this, when he wrote, “There is a way, which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” (Proverbs 16:25 NASV) The writer also wrote, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” (Proverbs 9:10 NASV) With these verses in mind, wisdom could be defined as “seeing things from God’s perspective”.

Each day we have the choice of viewing our world through the perspective of man or through the perspective of God. When we observe the mess that our world finds itself, it is clear which track mankind has chosen to take. You and I may not be able to change the world but we can have an impact in our little corner. We can refuse to be drawn into the deception of the world and choose, instead, to look at life through the perspective of God. We can choose love over hate, integrity over compromise, servanthood over selfishness and forgiveness over bitterness. The perspective we choose will not only affect us; it will affect those around us. Whose perspective do you choose today?

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