EYES WIDE OPEN
As I sat by the river bank last week, waiting for our family to join us for a picnic and celebration, I wondered if we see things for what they are. We sometime loose our focus on what it truly important. Do we go through life with our eyes wide open? Maybe it takes looking back to see the reality of the moment? Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
I have had the opportunity to see life through the eyes of people who are not accustomed to the things we take for granted. I remember a question my West African friend Toby asked me one day, “Why does that plane keep flying over?” We were at an event in NYC in the old Shea Stadium in the flight path of the NY airports. He assumed it was the same plane.
I explained they are different plans, full of different people, going to different places. He could not comprehend that many different people with different places to go. For him, growing up in a small village, he knew everyone who lived there and where they were going.
In the Gospel of John, chapter 21, we find the story of one who made some adjustments to his perspective. We read about Peter and his encounter with Jesus that restored his relationship with him. You see Peter was a fisherman and one day….
Matthew 4:18-20; As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him.
Peter began his relationship with Jesus that day and it grew until they were very close. So close in fact that Peter proclaimed his commitment to Christ this way. As Jesus explained to his disciples about his pending crucifixion…
John 13:36-3; Simon Peter asked him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus replied, “Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.” Peter asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” Then Jesus answered, “Will you really lay down your life for me? I tell you the truth, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!
Peter said the words but when it came to the test he failed. He denied Christ three times just as Jesus said he would. As Peter heard the rooster crow he fell to his knees and wept bitterly. Peter had denied his relationship with Christ. But there is hope and Jesus represents that hope.
Jesus came to restore our relationship with God. He comes willing to meet our spiritual and physical needs. In John 21 we read about a breakfast that took place on the beach. Jesus was there waiting and willing to accept and restore Peter.
Peter didn’t waste any time getting there when he knew it was Jesus. His perspective was changed. The relationship was restored. Peter went on to live a life dedicated to serving God and yes, he did eventually lay down his life for the cause of Christ. So where does that leave us?
We need to have the right focus. We need to appreciate the things that are truly important, our relationship with God and our family. We need to look at each situation with our eyes wide open.
How about a dog’s perspective? Maybe we can draw some guidance from our dogs. After all, dog spelled backward is God and dog is an acronym for Depend on God. Here are some things we can learn from dogs that will help us make the right adjustments;
• When a loved one comes home, run to greet them.
• Never pass up the opportunity for a joy ride.
• Never pretend to be something that you are not.
• No matter how many times you are scolded, don’t buy into the guilt thing and pout, run back and make friends.
• Run, romp and play daily.
• Stop and lie down in the grass under the shade of a tree.
• Be Loyal.
• When you are happy, dance around and shake your entire body.
• Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
• Most of all…when someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently.
Seeing things as they are and having the right priorities in life makes all the difference. Jesus came with the purpose of restoring our relationship with God. It cost him his life. He didn’t consider that a price too heavy to pay and paid it.
We must ask ourselves the same question. Is it worth it? Are we willing to make the necessary adjustments to demonstrate our love for others? Having an influence in the lives of others is a responsibility we are given by God. Let them know how much they matter by taking the steps to show them how much you love and care for them.