In a culture of indulgence and prosperity in comparison to the entire world, I find myself complaining about things that just don’t matter. Global perspective-wise, they’re too small to really be considered worthy of verbal exhale, yet time after time I whine and complain because, after all, it’s important to me. I get caught in the trap of personal perspective. “What do you mean by the ‘trap of personal perspective?'” I’m talking about getting stuck in the way I see the world. I’m talking about seeing the world my way and from my perspective. Perhaps you’re wondering, “What’s wrong with that? Do you really have a choice other than to see and perceive the world they way you do? After all, you’re taking it all in and you’re the one processing everything. It’s only natural that you have a personal perspective that is biased and tailored to your own way of thinking.” I understand that response. It’s logical and makes perfect sense. The last part of those statements makes the most sense to me; “It’s only natural…”
BINGO! It is only natural. What else should I expect from myself, something unnatural? Should I be global-minded in my perceptions? Or should I be more concerned with my immediate surroundings and issues that affect me in my circle of living? What good is it for me to worry about poverty and tragedy globally when I have enough problems of my own here? What good is it for me to be concerned over injustice when my input and concern will accomplish little to nothing? I can’t hardly manage my own life, much less take on a conviction for others in need or constantly being mindful of how other people have it worse. What’s that to me? Life is a life of survival; survival of the fittest. You know, the good die young and if you’re not cheat in’ you aint tryin’.” It’s a cut-throat world and if you aren’t cutting, you’re sporting a toe tag. So if I have to be self-centered and selfish to avoid a toe tag, so be it.
I’ve got to admit, a lot of that makes sense to me. I know, I know…that probably sounds terrible coming from a pastor, but I’m just being honest with you. I’m guessing that some of it made pretty good sense to you as well. Like I said, and this is what I want to focus on in this blog, the part that stuck out to me was the statement, “It is only natural.” I couldn’t agree more. It’s only natural that you and I live a “me” life; a life centered on our own well-being. It’s part of our wiring. It’s, well…it’s natural. The world around us, for the most part, seems to live this way. Get what you can get while you can get it seems to be the battle cry in our society. And again, to me it makes perfect sense if your personal perspective is primarily focused on the here and now, meaning the present and our limited future here on earth. This becomes a natural disaster. But notice what happens when you take your primary concerns of the present (a natural way of thinking) and place them side-by-side with your concerns of not only the present, but the eternal.
How do I do that? Easy. Just think about the moment you will close your eyes for the last time. Seriously. Think about it for a minute. Maybe you’re young, maybe you’re older. It doesn’t matter. Death doesn’t discriminate social classes, race or religion. You will face it, some day, some time…guaranteed. And when you do, the only thing that will matter will be whether or not you knew Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. In other words, whether or not you devoted your whole self to Him. Not a dime you earned will matter. A meal given to the homeless won’t help you. What you provided for your children won’t benefit you, nor how many Sundays you attended church or even further, how many mission trips you went on. And get this, no matter how many people you’d pointed to Jesus and prayed with will not matter. Only whether or not you had a personal relationship with Jesus will matter. In Matthew 7:21-23 Jesus says this,
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.'”
When you look at life, all you say and all you do, with an eternal perspective, your perspective begins transforming from a natural perspective to a supernatural perspective. I say supernatural because this kind of perspective can not be home grown (or forced by your own will). It is only given and received as a result of a personal surrendering to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. When one does this, the Holy Spirit of God enters and dwells within him/her and begins molding our mind, soul and spirit. Take a moment and read Romans 12:1-2.
This eternal perspective, this gift of God, is not simply to result in you shaving your head, sporting a robe, staying out of taverns, quitting smoking, spending five of the seven days of the week in church and memorizing the Bible. This eternal perspective is God’s gift to the family you live in, the community you live in and the world you are a part of, yes, globally. Eternal perspective gives you a perspective on life that enriches every area of it. When you begin to think eternally, God begins to reshape the way you think about your world, your country, your community, your church, your family, your home and even yourself. When you begin to think about meeting Jesus, not only the day you die but on a day-by-day basis, you begin to realize what really matters. You begin to realize that spending time with God daily and reading His Word daily matters. You begin to realize that treating others the way you’d like to be treated is what matters. And you begin to realize that what you take with you into eternity is the only thing you can’t afford to lose: your relationship with Jesus. I’ve never seen a UHAUL behind a hearse, but I’ve seen a bunch of people crying and fighting over what you earned and what they feel entitled to receive. When you place strong value on the things of this world, your relatives will too. But if you don’t value the things of this world because they aren’t eternal, but you place paramount importance and value on your relationship with Jesus, others will be eternally impacted your supernatural perspective because your life itself was supernatural, and not natural.
Does your perspective lie in the present and limited future here on earth or does your perspective reflect your eternal hope? How do I know? Good question. Look carefully at your life; look at everything you do on a daily and weekly basis. Across the top of a blank sheet of paper write each day of the week. Then below each day write your typical schedule for that day (the time and activity). Once you’re done take a highlighter and highlight every activity that involves solitude and silence before God.
Perspective. What’s yours?