"Seeing the Bigger Picture"
Philippians 4:11b - For I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.
It's okay to be myopic.
Well, how about introverted? Cultured? Athletic? Gregarious?
Few of these conditions bring on any sort of permanent social stigma. After all, myopia (the dictionary definition is "nearsighted, having a narrow view") strikes even the best of us sometimes. Just because any of these labels may happen to fit us, we are not, of course, doomed to a lifetime of social alienation. We're still, in the words of popular self-help psychology, okay. That is, we're worthwhile people.
But what if we happen to fit the category of "single." And with that—to add something more to the equation—are a "Christian" as well?
Sometimes even in the church (and sometimes especially in the church), these designations ("single Christian") seem to combine to produce a special brand of social leprosy. Sadly, those in this class have a hard time fitting in. The single's need for meaningful interaction and caring concern can go unmet, leaving that person to feel alienated from their brothers and sisters in Christ, from God, and from themselves. As a result, many of these individuals may drop out of sight, leaving a church to which they have no real human connection, and are gone for good.
Or the single Christian may float along at the fringes of the community, expecting little, receiving little, and gradually just drift away. And, if this person is myopic, straining to see a bigger picture for their lives, either of these options can seem a legitimate way to go.
Legitimate maybe, but mostly uncomfortable.
This is the case, I think, because myopia blinds us to God's unique plan for our lives. And unless we're willing to commit ourselves to God and His Word, a kind of alienation always seems to be fairly close at hand. And this doesn't apply only to singles either. It can happen to married couples just as easily.
The single life may be part of God's plan for you right now or His plan for you from now on. Whatever context you're in is reason enough to be content in your faith in Jesus and the salvation He has won for you on the cross (see Philippians 4:4-7, 11; John 14: 1-3, 27). You're in a specific place and circumstance right now, and you have God-given abilities to carry out Christ's mission to your part of the world.
But it won't happen if you and I insist on being short-sighted. In truth, myopia goes both ways—lack of foresight from the single person toward the social dynamics of the church, and lack of perspective from the church toward the single person's value as a person and child of God.
May God grant that we all lose our myopia to the world around us.
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, open our eyes to the bigger picture of You at work in our lives. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
From The Lutheran Layman, May 1978 issue, "It's Okay to Be Myopic," by Jane Fryar
1. Would you consider yourself near-sighted or far-sighted? Has that changed over time?
2. What is it about your relationship with God that brings you the most contentment?
3. How can being near-sighted (in respect to life in general) blind us to God's work in our lives?
Today's Bible Readings: Genesis 46-48 Matthew 23:1-22
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