A year of expanded perspective - January 12, 2014 _____________________________________________________________________________
Pastor Dale Lloyd
Reading: 2Kings 6: 8 – 23
Throughout the coming year a slide will
appear at the beginning of each service. Its purpose is to communicate the
theme of what I feel God is speaking concerning this year: The Year of Expanded Perspective.
Please understand the importance of this
theme – EXPANDED perspective. One of
the issues we must address regarding perspective is that left to itself it
tends to narrow and shrink. This is a particular danger with aging – and let me
just say that it’s not just those over the age of forty that are aging.
Regardless of your present age you are aging. With that – and especially with a
few significant disappointments – there comes this risk of narrowed
It seems to me that when we are alive in
Christ and expanding in our experience of the life of Christ our perspective
will be expanding and enlarging rather than shrinking and narrowing. For that
reason I believe the Holy Spirit is calling us to an expanded perspective. He has a great deal to show us.
I started this last Sunday by dealing
with the story of Elisha’s servant – a servant who experienced a very
significant transformation of perspective.
One minute his perspective was limited to the physical realities of his
situation, and everything in that realm struck fear to his heart. He and Elisha
were surrounded by an enemy army. Believe me; they had not come to bless them. Fear rode in on that perspective of the
physical realm and the servant cried out this panicked question: “What shall we do?”
That question is very revealing and what
it reveals is that almost always when our narrowed perspective generates fear
we go to the issue of doing. “What shall we do?” implies there is
something we can do, must do and we need to do, do, do, do, and do some more.
Elisha’s prayer reveals a completely different perspective.
He does not address the hands and feet – which has to do with
doing – he addresses the eyes; “O Lord,
I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” It strikes me as being the correct
order. Doing is dependent upon seeing.
Doing is directed, or disciplined, or structured by seeing. What is the
value of doing if we are not first seeing? Seeing
determines our doing.
In the North American church there may
not be a lack of doing, but there certainly seems to be a lack of seeing, a lack of vision and a lack of expanded perspective. Consequently
the fruit of the doing lacks any real sense of Christ-centeredness.
The question I am posing at the
beginning of this New Year is not, what are you doing? It is what are you seeing? The question is not – where are your
hands and feet? It is where are your
eyes? And what we all need to be aware of is that our hands and feet (our doing) will eventually reveal exactly where our
Let me illustrate that: Two men looked out through
prison bars. One saw mud, and one saw stars. Two people can be placed in
the same position and yet their perspectives can be entirely different.
A government can take a
Nelson Mandela and lock him up physically for 27 years. His physical world can
be narrowed and shrunk to the size of a prison cell. What you cannot lock up and narrow is his inner perspective. What
you can’t lock up is his prophetic seeing – the
vision of the eyes of his spirit. After all those years of incarceration you
find his hands and feet involved in
doing the work of government from the top position of government.
The issue is not at all
where we are physically this morning. If I was just in some other church, some
other job, some other family, some other marriage and some other financial
situation. I speak this with sensitivity but also with deep conviction – the
primary issue is not where you are circumstantially; it’s whatyou are seeing from where you are
and how you are seeing where
you are.Does your perspective expand
beyond where your feet and hands presently are?
I want to finish this by referencing two
details reported in this ancient story. The first happened before Elisha
prayed; the second after he prayed.
not fear, forthose who are with us are more than
those who are with them.”The
transformation of the servant’s perspective begins with the testimony of one
whose perspective has already been changed.Two men looked out
through prison bars. One saw mud, and one saw stars. Both Elisha and his servant are in the
exact same circumstances; they are looking out through the same set of bars.
The servant sees nothing but mud. Elisha sees the stars.
And what I love about
this – and we really need to hear and regard this – their relationship was such
that each could be honest and speak
freely to the other concerning their very different perspectives. We have
to understand that the servant’s perspective was not wrong – it was not a lie.
There really was an enemy army surrounding the city. The only issue with his
perspective was that it stopped short of that broadened, expanded perspective to
which Elisha had already come.
How did Elisha address
this narrowed perspective? Again, he testified out of what he knew to be true
on the basis of his own perspective: “those who are with us are more than those who are with
them.” He did not condemn, judge or reject his servant. He simply shared his
own enlarged perspective. Notice also that Elisha did not hammer his servant
over the head with his testimony. He shared it and then he – WHAT??? – he prayed.
This act of prayer is vital. This is Elisha’s confession or
acknowledgement that he is powerless to
change his servant’s perspective. In fact it’s not even his responsibility
to change his servant’s perspective. Notice carefully his prayer: “O Lord, I
pray, open his eyes that he may see.”
at that prayer as a confession and it looks like this: Only God has the power to open his eyes. Only God can give sight and
cause him to see. Only God has the ability to sovereignly transform and change
second detail – the one following the prayer was this: And the Lord opened the servant’s eyes and he
saw... Who opened his eyes? Elisha? The
servant? Absolutely not! It was God and God alone.
is possible that we spend too much time trying to pry open the eyes of those
caught in the fear of a narrowed perspective.
Perhaps we should simply share the testimony of that perspective God has opened
our eyes to, and then petition God to do what only God can do – open the eyes
of the heart that they and we all may see – and that this seeing will expand
and widen and broaden with endless increase.