1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always. Pray continually. Give thanks in every situation because this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
In the busyness of our schedules, how often do we take time to look with a fresh set of eyes at our lives? What is it that gives me the most joy? What is it that I find myself struggling with most? Where do my passions and my priorities intersect with my actual patterns of living?
I have been given an opportunity to slow down and look at my life in a new way over the last few days. A friend of mine from a small country on the continent of Africa, Malawi, is visiting here as a part of our church’s missional connection with his country. He has asked me questions about my experience, my day-to-day routine, and the reasons I spend time doing what I do. It has been quite an experience explaining my life to him.
I know we must be careful when comparing our experience with the experience of others, but I feel like God has given me (and now YOU) an opportunity for “Holy Perspective.” What would it sound like if you had to describe your life to someone who has a completely different context. When you turn on a faucet and the water pressure isn’t ideal, but someone else sees that same availability of water as a miracle!? When you explain the mail you receive is mostly bills which can be tough to pay, but the person you share this with finds it extraordinary that anyone would render you a service without money in advance? When the doctor calls with bad news, but the person you tell about this responds with awe and wonder that seeing a doctor was even possible.
The scripture I began this article with reminds me that while my experience may be unique, my response to my situation should NOT be unique. We should rejoice in all things, even difficult things. We should pray continually, even and especially when we don’t “need” anything. We should give thanks in every situation because we have been born/raised in a community where the least of us have so many more opportunities than most in our world.
I believe when we pray and give thanks continually, God will help keep our perspective focused on Holy things. Serve one another. Make time for the things you say matter most. Live like you have to explain what you are doing to someone else – perhaps even as if you had to explain it to God. When we make time for reflection like this, we make time for God to redirect us to Holier purposes and perspectives.
Information provided by John Wagner. associate pastor, Christian Life Center, Ankeny First United Methodist Church.