I’ve been called a Pollyanna,1 which I take as a compliment.
I’ve been told I see people through rose-colored glasses and I suppose that is true. It is my nature to trust people - even if - until they betray me. And no matter how difficult a person or personality is, I endeavor to look for the good in the individual. See, when you look, you can always find some good in every one.
Glass half empty or half full? In the last year, it has oft been more challenging to see the glass half full because in truth, it has been half empty, but that is my goal. Make no mistake:
choosing to see the glass half full is a choice.
I want to build the case that as followers of Jesus, we should always see the glass half full. [will split this into two briefings]
So here we go: One jet-lagged morning in North Carolina last week, I was reading Hebrews chapter 12, concentrating on the first two verses. Please read these slowly as they are packed with significance for you.
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne." New Living Translation
As you know, I always preach context - taking a look at the setting of a passage to better understand what is being communicated. When reading Scripture and encountering the word THEREFORE, (which is how these two verses begin),it is like a stop sign. 'Therefore' means stop and consider, ‘because of all this, then this’. So what came before chapter 12 quite obviously is chapter 11. My goodness gracious, look at Hebrews chapter 11 ... I love this chapter! God uses flawed people, who with some degree of faith, risked great things for him. Notice some of the characters who are included. What an inspiration!
And of course there's the great verse, six: but without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him. ponder that
But this week, I had my New King James Bible with me; instead of 'because of the joy,' in verse two, it read “Who for the joy”, and it captured me. It truly leaped off the page at me. Call me crazy, but I thought the wording was not just beautiful and poetic, but a direct personal challenge. I mean, consider “who for the joy" of what would come after, Jesus went to a tortuous death; the payoff - us, relationship with us forevermore, should we choose. [that word again - choose]
1) Who for the joy - Hebrews 12.2
I inserted myself into that verse,
Who for the joy, Christine did what she believed God called her to do.
How about putting your name?
Who for the joy, Sylvia opened her home for others to come and pray
Who for the joy, Mel disciplined himself to get in the Word and pray each morning.
Who for the joy, Eric made the decision virginity was more important than
indulging himself sexually
Who for the joy, Megan committed to showing up every Thursday since May with her husband's pickup truck - early, I might add - so that I could plug in my speaker and teach the Word of God to an eclectic gathering of folks, including her parents.
Who for the joy, you do what, Obey God how, Serve someone where, Discipline yourself in what way?
Choosing to see the glass full, I decide
for the joy, I will give thanks in all things.2
For the joy, I will find the good.
For the joy, I will be the good.
For the joy, I will yet praise him.3
Faith in a good, great God and daily choices to give thanks, invest in the good and give praise to the Lord, and suddenly the glass looks a whole lot more full!
Give a listen to this: Father, I Thank You - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nRnKJu2Emmc
1 - Pollyanna was a fictional character, an orphan, who always looked to be glad and helped others around her be glad too
2 - 1 Thessalonians 5.16-18
3 - Psalm 43.5