Tuesday, September 16, 2008

see the whole

Being reminded by Scot McKnight that the Bible is Story (the way I'm understanding him) helps me see how we need to see our lives in that context. Of course it's not about fitting the Story into our lives, but finding how our story fits into God's Story.

There are times during most days when if I'd just focus on those times I'd throw in the towel and give up. But there are normally times each day when my faith in God through Christ is reinvigorated and strengthened in one way or another.

We need to see the whole also in terms of the entire world God created and reconciled to himself in Christ. This includes all people and all creation. It's not just about our own little worlds or how we're doing in them. It's so much bigger than us. But in God's great plan, it includes us.

We need to learn to see the whole, and not get bogged down in thinking it's all about ourselves, or our church, even our nation. It's about the greatness and goodness of God who is love. A love that will not let us go, and will not let what he has created go. And we have our part in this great whole of God.

For me this is helpful especially during this political season in the United States. I generally steer away from conversations on politics, but yesterday while working with a good friend at work he patiently bore with some of my thoughts, and we had our laughs outside of that. Then I later continued on a thread on Scot McKnight's blog, Jesus Creed, a good posting on politics.

Anytime of one's life, but particularly when certain important matters can be blown out of all proportion, we need this reminder to see the whole. God is over all, and we can trust him entirely. We must be careful to look at the parts of our lives and of the world as not the whole. We must seek to see beyond them to what God is doing and what he's about in our lives and in the world. In light of God's revelation to us in Scripture and in Jesus Christ. So that we can better learn to live with God's priorities in view.

What thoughts might you like to share on seeing the whole?

Tomorrow: The final chapter: Blood from a Stone - completion, from L.L. Barkat, Stone Crossings: Finding Grace in Hard and Hidden Places


Lanny said...

The whole. For me, the whole is always way more that the sum of the parts. But even more so when God is the orchestrator of the equation. But the bugger about the whole is that if you do not attend to the parts, the details, the whole can and often falls apart. If we over look some of the underlying details sometimes the whole can be recovered and sometimes we overlook too many details or too many vital ones. And God said that we would be surprised at what was important, first last, last first sort of thing. So then we had better make sure that we really are listening to God and paying attention to what is, in His book, important.

Just thinkin.

Crowm said...

Good thoughts Ted!

Many times it's good to take a "panoramic" view, rather than always focusing on the details of our situation(s).

We've all heard the analogy of the parade. We only have the ability to see certain snipets of the parade, while God sees the beginning and the end. In our lives, we tend to categorize everything.

As much as its possible with us, we need to be intentional about the whole. Seeing with the eyes of "the whole" still allows us to see how we as individuals still fit into the story.

Thanks again!

Ted M. Gossard said...

I think your point is well taken, and actually harmonizes with what I was thinking here.

And I think we see the parts correctly only by seeing them as part of the whole picture. Of course that's what I was getting at, and you're getting at the importance of the parts for the whole, which is also true!


Ted M. Gossard said...

Yes. You put it well. Thanks.

I think it's interesting that God has given us what he has given us, and God wants us to see all in the light of that. But God hasn't given us everything. So there's an element of trust in both receiving what God has given us, and trusting him for what he alone understands.

And I really think this is a growing matter, in our lives, not just something we can grab like grabbing my Bible off the shelf, or even get over time by reading/listening to Scripture, though that can help.

Anonymous said...

i realize that no matter how far back i get, i can never see the whole picture. it can even be smaller for that matter, for even there exists what i can not see.

the picture is much bigger than my perspective. i can never see it all. i see all the small things in my life, more things in the life around me, i can fly in an airplane and all these little things disappear and look smoothed over and then i see all the little fields and towns and cars, and so i need to get further back, i have seen photos of the earth from outerspace, and all the fields and towns disappear and the veiw is replaced with water, land, clouds, space, the moon, and still i can not see all of the stars and planets. i can look in a microscope and see very small things that are a part of the story. still i do not see history or the future. i can read and study and talk and plan, still i do not know the whole. no matter how closely i look at things, or how far away my perspective, there is still sin, choice, and those things that i can not see. all a part of what i believe to be God's story...or picture...plan.

no matter what our perspective...we never see the whole. we are like little ants surveying our ant hill.

no matter what we look at, we will not see the whole.
and no matter how close we look at something, we can look even closer and closeer. it is never ending.


all i can do is focus on God and believe that He is my God and that He will lead me in His will, His story.

i am, in faith, a small part of God's unending story of Grace and Love.

i agree with you, brother, that it is all about God and "all" that God 'is'.

our focus should be always on God, and that way we get a glimpse who we really are and what God means to us.

also, i think that it is good to laugh. very good.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Thanks, Nancy.

I think this is just meant by me to be an exercise where we seek God's perspective for us. We certainly will never know all as God knows it, but I refer to what God has revealed to us- that we need to see all the details in light of that. And of course that varies for each of us in a way, as well, though in another way it doesn't since we all have access to God's revelation in Scripture and in Jesus, and God responds readily to the faith of a little child.


Anonymous said...

um...maybe i just don't get it.

Ted M. Gossard said...

I probably didn't convey my thoughts well. But I agree with what you said, the point you made. And am short on time now.

I think I'm just referring to perspective, and certainly never thinking we can get it to the extent God does, nor does this cancel out our need to trust in the Lord in walking by faith, and not by sight.

Thanks for your response.

Anonymous said...

thank you for your response, brother.

it is not you at all.

i think that i read and hear half of what is being written or said at times.

that is funny...i just don't take in the whole thing.

oh, dear, i just got that.

God is so good.