Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Spectrum of Concern

per webster: Concern:

to have an influence on (obsolete : to be of importance)

I usually try to avoid the news. I get frustrated when I see things I can't fix. Just makes me feel overwhelmed. If I don't look, I don't have to become involved or be concerned with other issues...besides I already have enough issues of my own (in my not so humble opinion). However, I listen to the radio and browse the internet quite a bit so I hear news stories....good, bad and ridiculous, which can be hard to ignore.

Of course, there has been the ongoing reports of the earthquake in Haiti. I believe this to be a major concern. Amazingly, there have still been a few survivors rescued even after a week. The pictures are devastating, however, in many, the people still smile.

And then there's the groundhog thing by PETA. Seriously? That is the best thing they can come up with to spend their time and efforts on? They feel the groundhog should be replaced by a robotic groundhog because of being in captivity and all the bright lights, crowds, etc. on Groundhog Day.

There are many other examples of issues people are concerned about. Abortion, school funding, lack of jobs, health care, etc. The list is long. It seems people mainly become involved or concerned when it is something that directly affects them. Otherwise, oh well, that's someone else's battle.

I find it interesting that the definition of concern meaning "to be of importance" is marked as obsolete. It seems to have been replaced by "to have an influence on". What concerns us helps us make decisions on where/what to spend our money and time. I think I want to merge the two definitions. I want to be concerned about being an influence on things of importance.

I guess the point of this is I don't want to preach about what to be concerned about. Just think about where you fall along the spectrum of concern. Depending on the issue you might be from I don't care to this matters a great deal to me or somewhere in the middle. I think my goal for today is to find out what really matters to me and put my efforts, time and money there.

Blessedly, we are never far from God's concern for us. We are "of importance" and God can have an "influence on" us. Keep your eyes open for where your concerns lie and watch for how God's concern for you shows up in your life. On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being most important, we are 10s on God's concern spectrum.

Psalm 91:10-12 (NIV) 10 then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. 11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; 12 they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.

Malachi 3:16-17 (NIV) 16 Then those who feared the LORD talked with each other, and the LORD listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the LORD and honored his name. 17 "They will be mine," says the LORD Almighty, "in the day when I make up my treasured possession. I will spare them, just as in compassion a man spares his son who serves him.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Switch View

I have a confession to make. I like online games. A LOT. I have wasted too much time playing. I can tell myself it is to help me relax, which is true....but it also keeps me from dealing with "stuff" I need to deal with. One game site even lets you earn play "$" so that you can donate it to help causes. Makes me feel not quite so guilty. Problem? You have to play awhile to make it worthwhile.

However, one never knows when a spiritual lesson is lurking amongst the seemingly pointless things in life. There's a game I like called Mah Jongg Toy Chest. Maj Jongg in general is a game where you match tiles to make them go away and clear the board. Trick is you can only click on tiles that are not surrounded by other tiles. Eventually, I run out of matches I can see. However, the game creators provided a help. There's text at the top that says "Switch View". When that is pressed, the board switches and the tiles are at a different angle which usually reveals more matches....and play continues until there are no more available matches....or time runs out.

When the view is switched, the perspective changes. I looked up perspective: the capacity to view things in their true relations or relative importance (urge you to maintain your perspective and to view your own task in a larger framework — W. J. Cohen)

I read a story/e-mail one time about people who could not agree. So the teacher put a person on each side of a ball where each person could only see their side. They had to convince the other person they were right. One side was black, one was white. There was no way they could agree....until they switched sides and saw it from the other person's view.

Life is a lot like that. However, I am reminded often that I am not seeing the whole picture. God has left just enough of the details out that I have to trust and have faith that His perspective is enough. Once in awhile, I get a small glimpse of changes I need to make to keep moving forward. A reminder that I need to switch views.

Philippians 3:14-16 (NIV) 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. 15 All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16 Only let us live up to what we have already attained.

PS The prize on Maj Jongg Toy Chest if you get all the matches? A big penguin waddles out and you get extra points for the remaining time. I know....God's plan is MUCH better!

Father, Thank you so much for the ability to sometimes catch a view of the vision you have for us and others you bring into our lives. May we keep pressing toward the real prize. We seek your wisdom and your viewpoint to keep us moving onward and upward.