Perspective - January 5, 2014 _____________________________________________________________________________
Pastor Dale Lloyd
Reading: 2Kings 6: 8 – 23
On the first Sunday of this New Year I want to talk to you about perspective. In fact it is my intention
to share two or three messages on this subject through the first month of this
year. Perhaps I could begin by asking this question: What is your perspective as you step into this New Year?
You may be thinking – I’m not even sure I have one. I
understand that because weseldom think
in terms of our perspective; it is
not a highly structured system of thought for most of us. We tend to react or
respond to life without considering why we respond the way we do. I am suggesting
that we should think in these terms because the truth is we all have a particular perspective. Furthermore we
live out of that perspective every day. The choices we make are made out of
that perspective. In fact our choices reflect what our core perspective is. Beyond
that, our perspective continues to shape our experience which in turn deepens
If my perspective is faulty my choices
will also be faulty. If my perspective is immature my choices will reflect that
immaturity. If my perspective is influenced by or based upon a lie, my choices
will carry forward that lie.
These few statements of introduction are
intended to establish the importance – the vital importance – of perspective,
and that we need to remain conscious of our perspective and attend it with
Here is one aspect of the definition of
the word perspective. Perspective:
the capacity to view
things in their true relations or relative importance. Perspective has to
do with assessment – the assessment of the position of objects in
relation to each other. It is the ability to see things for what they are
in terms of value and importance. Without proper perspective,
we waste our energy on things of little value and no importance. We see the
fruit of this everyday in our culture.
Perhaps the first thing
to understand about perspective is that it is not static; it is constantly
changing. The reason it is changing is because we are changing and the objects
in our world are changing. This means
that your present position determines your present perspective. For this
reason we all see things just a little differently; no two of us are in exactly
the same position therefore our perspectives are slightly different. Let me
illustrate this: (Illustration of the Chairs)
That is a simple
illustration designed to communicate the fact that our position in relation to the objects that make up our world
determine and shape our perspective of those objects. But this reaches far
beyond the mere physical reality of things – far beyond knowing the location of
chairs. It reaches into the critical core
of values and importance. In other words, what value or importance do we
assign the various objects that make up our life and world in their relation to each other and to us?
Let me present a list
of things to you: God, creation, the
universe (visible & invisible – angels & demons), self, humankind,
human relationships, sexuality, sin, suffering, salvation, the church, family,
purpose, death, and ages to come. Take this list and ask yourself this
question: What is my present perspective
regarding each and all of these items? By that I mean – what value and importance do you assign to
each and to all? And then understand that whatever that assigned value or importance is – that reveals your true
present position (where you are) in relation to each.
The atheist boldly
states he has no perspective regarding God because he “knows” there is no God. I
respond, “Thank you for your perspective. It reveals your exact position of
values and importance on the subject of God.”
I trust that what I
have shared up to this point will assist us in understanding what perspective
actually is, i.e. the assessed and
assigned value and importance of the objects that make up our experience as
determined by our present position in relation to those objects.
This brings us to a
more fundamental issue: It is not enough that we simply understand the meaning
of perspective – we must address the question: How is proper perspective gained?
In the Sundays ahead I
will bring you back to this question and we will consider several things. For
now I want to point out one fundamental truth regarding how perspective is
Try to imagine this
nasty scenario: This room is filled with people. Each has been issued and is
wearing a blindfold. It allows absolutely no light. None is familiar with the
room or the contents in it. No one knows where the exits are. Someone with an
authoritative voice yells – “FIRE!!!”
What do you think the
measure of chaos in this room would be? And do you know why? It’s simple; without the ability to see, without the
capacity of vision there is absolutely no proper perspective. In other
words no one in the room has any authoritative understanding of the objects in
the room, the position of those objects in relation to each other and in
relation to the position of each person in the room.
there is no vision the people cast off restraint.
The condition addressed in this Proverb is scary; a society without law and order, without restraint and discipline, a
society in chaos. But the Proverb also addresses the cause of such social
chaos; the absence of prophetic
vision. In other words there is no seeing beyond the length of the
nose, there is no perception of realities beyond selfish interests. There is no
true perspective. And then we wonder why we stumble like a nation of
blindfolded leaders and followers.
vital is this issue of seeing to the formation of a proper perspective?
Consider the servant in the ancient story we read from Scripture. There was
nothing wrong with his physical eyes – his vision was 20/20. He looked out
through the early morning light and saw the objects of his world exactly as
they were; war horses and chariots, elite soldiers armed with modern weapons of
warfare and there was no mistaking their number – the city was surrounded. And
beyond this there was no mistaking the purpose of the gathering; he and Elisha
were “dead meat”, as the saying goes.
Based on that perspective we understand
his panicked question put to Elisha: “What shall we do?” You can almost feel the heart palpitations and
hear the short gasps of choked off breath. “What shall we do?”
Notice the Prophet’s
response – “Do not fear.” This
reveals that the servant’s perspective of the situation was fear based. Fear always creates a perverted perspective. And if we act on that
fear perspective we will inevitably make bad choices. How can the servant’s perspective be changed?
Notice that Elisha did
not suggest that the servant should deny what he had just seen. He did not tell
him to forget it and that he only thought he saw what he saw. Denying the
physical reality of things does not create a proper perspective. The story
reveals that proper perspective is indeed determined by seeing but seeing on a
different and deeper level than the sense realm.
Elisha prayed that the
eyes of his servant would be opened. Had I been that servant I think I would
have informed the prophet that there was nothing wrong with my eyes, they were
indeed wide open, and if it’s all the same I don’t care to see any more clearly
than I have.
The Bible speaks of the eyes of our heart and/or the eyes of our
spirit. Paul prayed that the eyes of
our heart would be open. That is what happened here. There are eyes, there is a seeing, a perception, a perceiving that
breaks through and transcends the physical realm. And when we begin to see
on that level we are suddenly aware that there are many other objects at play in the
world of our experience. There was an army beyond the army of his
physical vision. And what an army is was – warrior
angels of fire riding in chariots of fire.
right there is enough to change any person’s perspective. The prophet’s perspective was based
upon faith. The difference between the servant’s fear perspective and the prophet’s faith perspective had to do with seeing; they both saw but at
different levels and different things.
men looked out through prison bars. One saw mud, and one saw stars.
My prayer for each of
us regarding this New Year is that it will be a year of seeing – a year of open
eyes. I am praying that our seeing extends far beyond the realm of our senses
and into the S/spirit realm. May we have the eyes of Christ who did only what
He SAW the Father doing.