Here’s the challenge. Are you ready for it?
Your challenge is to make one word by rearranging these letters:
Recently I have gotten into logic puzzles and card tricks. I love trying to figure out how something works. Often times the answer is right under your nose or right in front of your eyes the entire time you just didn’t know what to look for.
Perspective really does change everything, including how we view our neighbor.
Here are few examples of perspective:
-The neighbors grass is too long.
Perspective: She’s a single mom who is recovering from stage 4 cancer and is taking care of a foster child.
-The 16 year old who walks by totally disengaged and apathetic.
Perspective: They are living with Grandma and Grandpa because Mom isn’t able to take of them because she is addicted to drugs.
-The old man who always yells when dogs come into his yard.
Perspective: His dog was sick and recently had to be put down and it was his Wife’s. She had passed away 5 years earlier.
One of the characters in the bible that I have a hard time with is Jonah. Many of you may know the story of Jonah. He hears God’s call to go to Nineveh from his home town of Joppa (550 miles away). But he went against God and actually ended up hiring a charter to sail in the opposite direction from Joppa to Tarshish (2500 miles away). On his way to Tarshish, Jonah, gets swallowed by a giant fish, often thought off as a whale. He spends three days in the belly of the fish and on the third day he gets spit up on dry land. God gave him a second chance and Jonah ends up going to Nineveh to tell the people there what God has to say. Which is found in the Book of Jonah chapter 3 verse 4:
4 On the day Jonah entered the city, he shouted to the crowds: “Forty days from now Nineveh will be destroyed!”
The people of Nineveh including the king heard the message and responded:
5 The people of Nineveh believed God’s message, and from the greatest to the least, they declared a fast and put on burlap to show their sorrow.
And God responded to their repentance:
10 When God saw what they had done and how they had put a stop to their evil ways, he changed his mind and did not carry out the destruction he had threatened.
This is how Jonah responded to God’s kindness:
Jonah 4:1 This change of plans greatly upset Jonah, and he became very angry. 2 So he complained to the Lord about it: “Didn’t I say before I left home that you would do this, Lord? That is why I ran away to Tarshish! I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying people. 3 Just kill me now, Lord! I’d rather be dead than alive if what I predicted will not happen.”
I look at Jonah and think that he is a jerk. Here is an entire group people who were about to be destroyed and they are given mercy. It seems like Jonah is only concerned about himself and his comfort. Jonah was more concerned for himself than he was for the welfare of an entire city of 120,000 people. This is only further illustrated when Jonah goes up on to the east side of the city to watch and see what the Lord will do. While Jonah is sitting there Jonah gets great comfort from a leafy plant that shelters him from the sun.
Jonah 4:7b The next morning at dawn the worm ate through the stem of the plant so that it withered away.
Jonah’s response to this is:
Jonah 4:8b “Death is certainly better than living like this!” he exclaimed.
If I were to put myself in this story, I am pretty sure I would be Jonah. I get way to consumed with self. It’s MY TIME, It’s MY REST, It’s MY MONEY, It’s MY ENERGY, It’s MY FAMILY, It’s MY SUNDAY NIGHT! Seven times Jonah says “I” or “me” in Jonah 4:2-3. His perspective was off and God had to do something to help get Jonah’s perspective off of himself. The real problem is Jonah forgot about the grace God had given to him. When you forget about that grace your perspective changes and goes from outwards to inwards. I am guilty all too often of being a grace amnesiac. And because of that my whole world shrinks to just me and my needs and wants. For Jonah God was able to use a worm eating through a leafy plant to try and help change his perspective. For me God uses everyday things, like an unexpected conversation with a next door neighbor, to help change my gaze off myself.
What I have found about God is he is less concerned with our “comfort” and more concerned with us being transformed into the image of His Son.
Take 60 seconds to pray for fresh perspective today.
Take another 30 seconds and ask for transformative grace to help you change into the image of Christ.
By the way, did you get the “ONE WORD” yet?