Links Daily Devotional

Perspective or Vision?

  “Send the people away so they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.”
  But he answered, “You give them something to eat.”
  They said to him, “That would take eight months of a man’s wages! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?”
  “How many loaves do you have?” he asked. “Go and see.”
  When they found out, they said, “Five—and two fish.” (Mark 6:36-38, NIV)

When a golfer moves from teacher to teacher, he is looking for a new perspective. It may set him in a good direction for a short period of time, but too many perspectives can cause confusion. Many professional golfers will choose to work with one teacher because it provides consistency and a clearer vision for what they are trying to achieve.

We thirst for perspective and vision off the course as well. There is an overabundance of self-help books that tell us how to make sense of our feelings and life circumstances. Our natural tendency is to deny our true feelings and look for clear-cut answers as to why our lives are unfulfilled.

In her book, The Allure of Hope, Jan Meyers suggests that just finding a new perspective doesn’t change our hearts, nor does it lead to transformation. Instead it acts as a substitute, causing us eventually to settle for less than what God desires for us.

Looking for a new perspective will help us manage for a period of time, but for real change and transformation to begin, we need a vision for something more. Building that vision requires us to ask questions about what might be missing in our lives, what has been taken away, or what is gone. Honestly entering into these questions frees us to recognize our need for God’s comfort and we will find rest in Him.

In the conversation the disciples are having with Jesus in Mark 6, I believe their perspective towards feeding a large number of people in a remote place was valid, “That would take eight months of a man’s wages! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?” (v. 37). From what the disciples saw, they believed sending the people away was the best answer.

Looking through a different lens, Jesus invited the disciples to participate in His vision. “How many loaves do you have?” he asked. “Go and see” (v. 38). Jesus encouraged the disciples to look beyond the facts (the five loaves and two fish) and turn their perspective into a vision for something beyond their imagination. Look what happened: “They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish” (v. 43).

I can identify with Jan Meyers’ thoughts on the difference between perspective and vision: “Perspective shifts the puzzle pieces of our circumstances around until we feel better about the picture; vision sees what the puzzle was meant to be.”

Now as I enter another new decade of life, instead of looking for the next best perspective, which could leave me empty and weary, I’m going to build a vision that is filled with imagination, desire, and hope.

Tracy Hanson

October 31, 2011

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