Our human tendency is to be very near sighted, or self-focused. If I’m honest with myself, I tend to be most concerned about how things are going for me; how the current situation and/or decision will affect me; how future plans might benefit me.
No, not all the time, but more frequently than I care to admit or even realize.
Me, me, me.
Hmmm. Not terribly flattering…
To be sure, we can’t avoid focusing on ourselves to at least some degree. As human beings, we have basic needs that must be met to survive. We need air to breathe, water to drink, food to eat, shelter to sleep. And I’m sure you can add a few more to the list that are truly needs. After those basic needs are met, it becomes a competition of my wants, my comforts, and my luxuries versus your needs, wants, comforts, and luxuries.
For most of us here in America, our basic needs are met, along with most of our wants. Comforts and luxuries are the new needs. And we’re constantly bombarded with messages that try and convince us of these new needs:
“It’s all about you!” (There was a billboard in town for a local bank last year with a woman smiling and pointing at passing motorists with this proclamation.)
“Be true to yourself!” (Was Hitler true to himself? What about Stalin? Bin Laden? Hmmm. The list goes on and on…)
“Follow your heart!” (“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9))
“You deserve this!” or “You’ve earned this!” (” …for all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God” (Romans 3:23) So what exactly do we deserve?)
“Look out for number one! (Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40)
Look at this last one again. Go ahead, I’ll wait…
This really sums it up for me. Our tendency, again, is to focus on ourselves. That’s the essence of the “Look out for number one” mantra.
But Jesus corrects this faulty world view and commands us to look up to God as our number one. To love Him with everything we are; To trust Him, submit to Him, depend on Him. And then we are to look out to others; to love others as we love ourselves. The implication here is that we love ourselves just fine by default – we don’t need any instruction here. But we do need the exhortation to love others.
So back to the title, what’s all this have to do with vision?
I believe we’re called to have a long view. I mean a really, really long view, not just a five or ten year plan, or looking ahead to retirement, but a desire to see things from God’s point of view.
In other words, put on your eternity glasses.
What?! Wait a minute you say – I’m not God! I don’t know the future!!
Well, you’re right – you’re not God.
But you’re also wrong about not knowing the future. In fact, God has revealed to us all we need to know about the future.
Christ defeated death on the cross.
”I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
We share in that victory by God’s grace and through faith in Christ.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
“He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’” (Revelation 21:5)
So those eternity glasses are not to see some hidden mystery of the future, but rather to remind us of the truth that we are sons and daughters of the most high God. Take comfort knowing the God who loves you is sovereign and in control. And while we’re sure to experience trials and tribulations in this world, our eternal victory is secure in Christ!