Last week my wife and I were in downtown Philadelphia. We were picking out foam for a mattress...sounds fun, right? I thought we should let Judah see historical Philly for the first time, so we made an afternoon of it. Amidst protests and countless tourists taking in the sites, this thought emerged...
"You know there are a lot of baby strollers around here today," I observed.
"Yeah, I noticed that too," replied Christianne.
"Hmm...you think its like that car thing...the second you buy a certain car you always see a different owner with the same exact model on the road..that you never would have noticed before," I contemplated.
"I think that's right," said Christianne.
What a valuable lesson in spirituality, understanding our nature, and being missional. Let me explain.
It was not until I had a baby and thus a stroller, that I noticed that tons of other people out there have babies and strollers. In the past, those people never would have gotten my attention. I would more or less be oblivious to there presence. Before I bought a Dodge Durango years ago, I said to myself...I want this car...not a lot of people have this type of SUV. Then I purchased one (which altogether is a whole different lesson on my spiritual walk), and all of the sudden my eyes were opened to how many other people had Durangos!! It blew my mind!!
The valuable spiritual lesson that this caters to is: worldview. One definition of worldview is:
the overall perspective from which one sees and interprets the world. So, we all have this in our lives..our worldview...Previously, I had very little room in my worldview for babies...now, I have an abundance of room in my worldview for babies. When I walk into a room full of people, the first thing I will notice or pick up on is if there are any babies in the room. So, what I am projecting here is that are worldview is largely formulated around the current place life has us at, or current circumstances we are involved in. To understand this limitation, yes limitation, is key...and here is why.
I used an example of babies. Whether or not I notice babies isn't a life or death matter. However, there are things that demand to take up our worldview no matter what, and this is the spiritual application of all of this. I am not poor. I live in a home, have a TV, a car, etc. My worldview in and of itself, if taken strictly by the limitations of how I assumed worldview earlier (only care about it if the things is happening to you), does not allow me to pay much concern to the poor. If I am not poor, generally speaking, I will not think about or notice the poor. If I do not have a Durango, I will not think about or notice Durangos. This is HUGE! Because our worldviews govern the perspective of our lives. I would intentionally have to give energy to praying for the poor, acting on behalf of the poor, etc. if I am not living in poverty myself. Contrarily, if I lived in inner city Philly, had no car and had to travel by foot or bus, struggle month to month to make ends meet...all of the sudden I would be able to identify with the poor, and they would be intrinsically in my worldview.
And this is the challenge we have as Christians and as we think about living missionally. The good news is that we can overcome these worldview limitations by the "transformation and renewing of our minds", by "being conformed to His image". We can actually make a dramatic shift in our worldview by the power of the Holy Spirit in conforming us to Christ. We can now see the world how He sees it. And the beautiful part about it is that we have the inspired Word of God to inform and direct this process. Jesus has much to say about the poor. Therefore, as my worldview revolves around His life and teachings, I am no longer bound by the limitation of not caring or noticing the poor around me just because I happen to be middle class. This allows me to live missionally where I am now, even if I am not doing overseas ministry. My eyes can be opened up to see the beggar on the corner of my street, or the Palestinian family who has a home down the block..not just the family with a newborn.
So dear brethren, please catch the worldview of God. Of Jesus. In His worldview He noticed the poor, even though the riches of the world are His, He comforted the adulteress, even though He committed no sin, He welcomed the Gentile, even though He was a Jew, He healed the blind, even though He could see everything, He loved His enemies, even though they hated Him, He noticed and saved little ole me, even though I never noticed Him...Let the "overall perspective from which one sees and interprets the world" be dictated by Christ. When this happens, when our worldview is lined up with Jesus, amazing things happen....