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IN THE CARPENTER’S WORKSHOP: Perspective

Jesus has a way of getting people to look beyond the situation to see a greater perspective.  His birth in Bethlehem makes the entire Roman Empire take notice.  And his words and actions always challenge people to think higher and wider.

In fact, he goes beyond being a figure of history.  He still transforms the situation.

In fact, Jesus’ earthly ancestor, David, in his encounter with the giant Goliath does the same thing.  When Goliath challenges the Israelites to a fight, the soldiers all think, “He’s so big we can never kill him.”  David looks at the same giant and thinks, “He’s so big I can’t miss.” 

Goliath, nine feet six inches tall in his sandaled feet, hardened warrior with strong armor and mighty weapons, was no match for the one smooth stone hurled from the young shepherd’s slingshot.   David, in the moment of appraisal as he stood before Goliath, said, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin.  But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied…. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hands.” ~ 1Samuel 17:45-47

Jesus had the blood of David coursing through his arteries and the mind of God operating in his head.  So do we because Christ live in us.  We have the same opportunities.  How we look at the moment, and who guides our steps and thoughts, is the only variable.

Just a tweak of the thought process, a look in another direction, can totally transform every situation.  We can be victorious or defeated.  The circumstances change like the days and seasons.  Perspective moves mountains.

During WWII General Creighton Abrams finds himself and his troops surrounded on all sides.  With the perspective of a leader, he tells his officers, “For the first time in the history of this campaign, we are now in a position to attack the enemy in any direction.”

This directly translates into the life of the Christian.  Each day presents its challenges.  How God works in us, and how we tend to think about it, turns a moment from despair to victory, from disadvantage to advantage.  Sometimes it just involves changing the tools we use.

Abraham Maslow, the great psychologist, in his book Eating Problems For Breakfast wrote, “If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.”  I am not sure whether title for the book or the quote is more powerful.  You decide, dear reader.  At the very least, we must realize that a variety of tools gives us many more options for each task.

When we think, as God’s word says, that no weapon can defeat us, nothing can defeat us.  When we recognize that the very thing we worry about, which seems dark at the moment, is very small in the larger scheme of things.  It loses its power over us.  Even more, we can relax and move forward in confidence no matter how desperate it seems on the outside.

Baseball pitcher Tug McGraw had a wonderful philosophy of pitching.  He called it his “frozen snowball” theory.  “If I come in to pitch with the bases loaded,” Tug explained,” and heavy hitter Willie Stargell is at bat, there’s no reason I want to throw the ball.  But eventually I have to pitch.  So I remind myself that in a few billion years the earth will become a frozen snowball hurtling through space, and nobody’s going to care what Willie Stargell did with the based loaded!”

Sooner or later we will need to throw that pitch.  Whether someone has just hit a homerun the moment before or struck out does not matter.  What happens happens.  Fear paralyzes.  The sooner we accept it and get over it the better.

This does not mean that we should not be smart.  Our brains are a gift from God.  The only time they become a hindrance is when we forget to use them.

Our answer to a question can take many forms.  It can put down, lift up, give a solution, or even reveal our ignorance.  So it matters that we consider each option before we answer.

An airline pilot flying over the southeastern U.S. called the local tower and said, “We are passing over at 35,000--give us a time check.” 

The tower said, “What airline are you?” 

“What difference does it make?  I just want the time.” replied the pilot. 

The tower responded, “Oh, it makes a lot of difference.  If you are TransWorld Airline or Pan Am, it is 1600.  If you are United or Delta, it is 4 o’clock.  If you are Southern Airways, the little hand is on the 4 and the big hand is on the 12.  If you are Skyway Airlines--it’s Thursday.” ~ Peter Dieson 

What time is it for you?