A Matter of Perspective

25th Sunday in Ordinary Time


Jonah preaching
A Matter of Perspective
Job preaching to Nineveh

Picture courtesy of lavistachurchofchrist.org

Today we read about a prophet in a sulk, a generous employer whose workers complained about his generosity and the apostle Paul being happy whether alive or dead. All 3 show that perspective matters.

Jonah, the prophet who got swallowed by the big fish, was sent to some nasty enemies of his people. He would have liked to pronounce doom on them all and see them destroyed. The problem was that he knew God. When his enemies saw this pale seaweed infested, fishy smelling prophet, they whole-heartedly repented, and then God relented, and Jonah was angry!

For I knew you were a gracious God, merciful, slow to get angry, and full of kindness; I knew how easily you could cancel your plans for destroying these people. - Jonah 4:4.

So Like a petulant child he parks himself at a spot overlooking the city and sulks. God then taught him a lesson - God’s perspective was different - they were Israel’s enemies but still His creations, still human beings, He still cared about them. Take heart all gentile Christians.

Our gospel reading is the parable of the Workers and a generous employer. We get to see two different perspectives here: Resentful workers who have slaved away in the hot sun all day and a charitable manager. At the time of this parable there was NO social welfare or benefit system, and he sees men willing to work whose wives and families may otherwise go hungry that night and decides if they are willing to work, even at this late hour, I will pay them the same amount. His perspective is that he is performing an act of charity, while allowing them to keep their dignity, it is not just a handout.

The apostle Paul in our Philippines reading is making a list of Pro’s and Con’s of death, giving us a view of a completely different perspective on it, from that of the world’s view. Paul had been through a lot, for our Lord, imprisoned, beaten, stoned (having rocks thrown at him), he died a couple of times and was resurrected at least once, if you read it carefully. He also was only human, and he writes of a “thorn in his flesh”, a problem sent by Satan that he couldn’t get rid of, and the Lord refused to heal, so that he would “remain humble”. Some suggest this was epilepsy, or a physical illness or condition of some kind, maybe it was a spiritual issue. Like most of us today, Paul was human and the battlefield for us is often in the mind and emotions, maybe like the rest of us sometimes the flesh got the better of him. He was looking forward to death, happy at the thought of finally being free of the pain and suffering of this life, and being with the Lord in Paradise, but he wasn’t suicidal because he had a great purpose through Christ and it kept him moving forward. Christ gifted him with that perspective - and He can you also, just ask.

On that note please pray for Queenstown & Southland, hit hard by flooding and for protection for the rest of us. It is not as dire as poor Libya which we should also remember in our prayers today. But if you are in it, your perspective will be, please pray!