Have you ever seen two people experience the same event, yet respond totally different? I’ve learned that to be positive its not so much about what happens to me, but how I respond.
Here are some biblical examples of the same event but different perspectives.
- Have or Have not? Numbers 11:1-6
The Israelite s were in slavery in Egypt for years. God used Moses to lead them out. God miraculously provided food for them daily, called manna. Day after day, God provided for their needs, and yet, the Israelite s did what so many of us do, and they started complaining. “God, we are sick and tired of this manna. If only we could go back to Egypt where the fish were free.” They were complaining, and being negative. Same event, different perspective. Moses says, “Did you forget that when you were in Egypt, you were slaves? Shouldn’t you be overcome with thankfulness?” You may not have fish, but you have your freedom!
I can be just like that, complaining about what I don’t have instead of being thankful for what I do have. Do you ever do that? I want be thankful for what I have.
- Beautiful or Wasteful? John 12:1-8
There was a woman who was forgiven by Jesus, and she took a very expensive jar of perfume and broke the jar open and poured this valuable perfume or oil over Jesus in an act of worship, and the contents of this jar was valued at a year’s worth of wages. Judas looked on and said, what I could have said, “That’s wasteful. We could have used it in other ways.” Judas says, “Why didn’t you sell that and give the money to the poor. Jesus looked on, same event, different perspective, and said, “You’re missing the point entirely. What this woman has done is one of the most beautiful things that I have ever seen. What she has done will be told about her for generations to come.” It was beautiful not wasteful!
Often I’m guilty of thinking, “what this person did was not good enough, they should have done is…” I want to see beauty in people’s service and gifts.
Stressed or Calm? Luke 10:38-42
Mary and Martha were hosting Jesus in their home, and Martha was doing what most of us do, stressing out. And she comes in complaining to Jesus, “Look at Mary! she’s just sitting at your feet. She’s just sitting there. No good, lazy girl. Tell her to help me out!” Same event, different perspective. Jesus looks on and says, “Martha, Martha. You are worried and upset about many things. Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her.” Martha was too stressed, Mary is calm and that’s better.
I easily get uptight about my to do list, making sure everything is just right and I miss the presence and peace of Jesus. I want to stress less, calm down and experience Jesus.
Worshiping or Whining? Acts 16:25-34
While Paul and Silas were spreading the good news about Jesus, and they were arrested, stripped, beaten publicly them, put them in prison and locked them up by their feet in shackles. Instead of whining about their circumstances, and Paul and Silas, with their wounds still bleeding, start worshiping God and singing! God showed up, brought a big earthquake, the doors flew open and the shackles fell off. It was the first jailhouse rock! The jailer looked on and said, “Everyone’s gone, I might as well kill myself.” Same event, different perspective. Paul and Silas said, “We’re still here,” and the jailer said, “What can I do to meet Jesus? They led him to Christ and his whole family, and that event led to the beginning of the church in Philippi.
When things go wrong in my life, instead of whining that its not fair, I want to worship and draw people to God.
So, here’s my challenge to myself and to you. Let’s do what we saw in scripture. Look at the same things that we have been complaining about, but look at them from a different perspective. Rather than focusing on a negative aspect. Take a step back and look at them from a different perspective. What do we have to be thankful for, how could we see the beauty in others, calm down, enjoy the presence of Jesus and find opportunities to worship?
I resolve to be more positive, how about you?