THROUGH DIFFERENT EYES
By DANNY MINTON
Today, I walked out back, a cup of coffee in hand, and took inventory of what I saw. From the back I can see several hundred yards in many different directions. I see the creek as it meanders a short way then empties into a long thin manmade lake. There are patches of finely manicured lawn, cut daily. A family of ducks comes waddling from a distance and slips into the water, effortlessly drifting across to a shaded area around a tree on the far shore of the lake. A prairie dog pops out of a hole and scurries to a small patch of grass, retrieves something from the ground, and just as quickly darts to a nearby hole and disappears. I can hear the wind quietly move through the branches of the mesquite trees and smell the blossoms of a nearby rose bush. A dog is barking in the distance, and the silence is broken as the mower comes down the way to clip the grass on the fairways. The coffee is gone, and it’s time to go back into the house. I have just looked at the world from my backyard.
When you look at the world from your backyard, I have no doubt that you will see something different. You may see some of the same things or hear some of the same sounds that I saw or heard, but then again you will see many things different. You will notice life unfolding in its own unique way in your own backyard. You will see the world from your spot.
So, which of us is seeing the world correctly? The answer is, of course, obvious. We both are. The difference is that we are viewing the world with different eyes and from different angles and places. It’s the same world, just with our own take on things from our personal space.
The church is much that way. Not everyone sees everything in the same way and from the same place. You and I will hear the same sermon, but often take away something different. We will walk through the building and see things differently. We will notice different people. We will have different conversations. We will encounter different situations. We may be in the same building around the same people, but our experiences will be different.
One of my favorite Bible stories is found in John 9 when Jesus and his disciples encounter the blind man. The disciples see a sinner, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” The neighbors were confused, “Isn’t this the same man who used to sit and beg?” The Pharisees felt threatened, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.” His parents were afraid, “He is of age; ask him.” The blind man, for the first time, ‘sees’ both physically and spiritually, Jesus, “Lord, I believe.”
Right or wrong, everyone saw the same situation but with different eyes and with different interpretations. It is Jesus who put it all in perspective when he, in the beginning, told the disciples, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”
As Christians, it is important to teach that the world we live in is bigger than our own backyard. We all see things differently. We experience things in different ways. We touch different lives. What we should always teach is that as Christians we should learn to see the world through the eyes of Jesus. It is only through his eyes that we can see with our heart and truly touch those that are around us.
A man fell into a pit and couldn’t get himself out. A subjective person came along and said, “I feel for you down there.” An objective person came along and said, “Well, it’s logical that someone would fall down there.” A scientist came along and said, “You only THINK that you’re in that pit.” A Pharisee said, “Only bad people fall into pits.” A mathematician calculated how he fell into the pit. A news reporter wanted an exclusive story on his pit. A fundamentalist said, “You deserve your pit.” A Christian said, “If you had been saved, you would have never fallen into that pit.” An atheist said, “You were saved and still fell into that pit.” A preacher said, “Just confess that you are not in that pit.” A realist said, “Now THAT’S A PIT.” A geologist told him to appreciate the rock strata in the pit. An IRS man asked if he was paying taxes on his pit. The county inspector asked if he had a permit to dig the pit. An evasive person came along and avoided the subject altogether. A self-pitying person said, “You haven’t seen anything until you’ve seen MY pit.” An optimist said, “Things could be worse.” A pessimist said, “Things will get worse.” Jesus, seeing the man, reached down and took him by the hand and lifted him out of the pit. (author unknown)
Our backyard may be a wonderful place, a place of comfort and security. It may be a place of safety and serenity, but it is only a glimpse of the whole. When we step back and look at everything through different eyes, it opens up a whole new world of thought and opportunities.
So the question is, “What will we see when we look into the pit and with whose eyes will be looking?”
As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” John 9:4-5
Danny Minton is Pastoral Minister and Elder at Southern Hills Church of Christ.