Is our “Zoom” adjusted right?

By jreighley - Last updated: Saturday, March 3, 2012 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment

Focus usually comes at a cost.

If you focus up close, you lose clarity in the distance. And vice-versa. your peripheral vision fades if you focus too closely.

Right now, the western world is very focused on the individual. We want everyone to be everything that they can be, and to have every opportunity that they could have and to have all of the knowledge that they can have. None of these things are wrong, but perhaps they are getting way too much focus.

Some Christian groups back the microscope up an eighth of a turn and “focus on the family”.. That too is not wrong.. But can we back it up a bit more?

Perhaps focusing on the individual is like focusing on some fiber strands, and focusing on the family is like focusing on a thread. We can up the focus to neighborhoods and communities and churches and cities and nations, and the whole world. That is not a fiber or a thread. That is a tapestry. But really perhaps there is even more than that. We have generations before us and generations to come.

When we have our microscope focused on the individual or the family and we work hard to maximize the productivity and the happiness at that level, we can be causing more harm than good if we fail to measure in light of the greater tapestry that the fiber needs to be woven into.

Most of the social debates of the day focus around these misunderstandings. “Everyone should have the right to maximize their enjoyment of life” This is the mantra of our day. This is the justification for abortion, divorce, sexual promiscuity of all flavors. And in many cases people are happier and more prosperous when they pursue these paths.

But there is a very non-negotiable limit to such enjoyment of life just a few short years away in cemetery or a crematorium.

Enjoyment of life gets us nowhere unless we see the bigger picture. Life flows through us, but it is not about us. The less of it we hoard the more significant and abundant life becomes. Life passes through us. A hose that has a closed valve may fill up with water one glug at a time, but one that is open will have large volumes flow through it. Thus it is with life and us. The more we invest in others, the more life we experience. Because it passes through us and into our communities, our world and down into future generations.

Romans 8:28 is speaking of the grand tapestry that God is making. An image of himself and His Glory. An image woven together by many many lives. Many generations, many families, and many nations. People and people groups who have poured out their lives to free the oppressed, to heal the sick, to raise and educate the future generations.

As we plow through life, there are two different kinds wakes that are left. One that flows into the present and future, and one that barely flows anywhere at all.

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