PASTOR'S PEN: Really a pessimist

I’m probably more a pessimist than I like to admit. I call myself a “realist”, but actually do lean more toward the negative side.

I remember when a camp our church supports was going through a difficult financial time several years ago. It didn’t look good. The new director went to supporting churches asking for prayer. I decided to pray, but in the back of my mind I was thinking this probably wasn’t going to succeed. Like Jonah, I would stand back and watch for success, but in reality think, “I told you so” when it didn’t pan out. Thankfully, the camp came through very well and I even have had the humbling and joyful pleasure of speaking there. I have definitely become one of their biggest fans and look forward to what God will do in the future. I am now confident that God will do much more than I could ever dream.

Such a negative outlook can play a lot on how one views life. The perspective on events is negative with no risks taken and the idea that life will always be a plateau or go downhill. It’s a safe and secure, yet unadventurous way to live. It also detracts from the hope and excitement we have in Christ. 1 Corinthians 1:26-31 is an example. It goes like this:

“Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth … He chose the lowly things of the world and the despised things — and the things that are not — to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before Him.”

That’s the beginning … and that’s where us “realists” tend to focus. We think, “I’m nothing. I’m unimportant. I’m nobody special. I have nothing to boast about.” But that’s not the full picture. It’s like only viewing the bad plays of a football game where you won 75-0! Let’s look at the other side.

“It is because of Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God — that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: ‘Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.’”

You DO have something to boast about! You are righteous and holy and redeemed! Yes, you are reminded of the past so you don’t go back there, but look ahead; look to Christ! He gives you and I something to be excited about. He gives a life that is worth living and is, in its own way, adventurous and exciting. There have been bad plays and negative aspects that we must examine, but the game is won. In fact, it was a crushing blow (Genesis 3:15)! It’s not because I am great, but because He is great. Because of that, I am a winner! Instead of living life looking only to the negative side and seeing all that is wrong in your life and in the world, “fix your eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.” Now that is exciting!