Is Your Perspective Important?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Saturday, January 9, 2016 0 comments

by Nathan Buck

When we are young and idealistic, it is easier to adventure toward and fight for what we believe. Passion drives us toward the way we feel things “ought” to be. Our perspectives when we are younger are less cluttered with obligation and risk assessment, and we energetically press for change, innovation, and opportunity.

As we age, our perspective becomes refined with wisdom - usually from the hard knocks we received in risky youthful ventures. We also gain clarity on how the world works, we gain in responsibility for ourselves and others, and we gain a certain amount of influence and power. We feel as if in many respects we have finally gotten to a place where we can have an impact.

The irony of our existence is that we start out driving toward something that “could be,” only to arrive at a place where we end up protecting what “is.” The moment we finally have the influence and power to make a difference, we pull back in avoiding risk and maintaining what we accomplished so far. Worse yet, in the name of ‘legacy’ we try to convince those after us to carry on with what we started (the way WE have done it). And the cycle repeats as the next generation comes along and finally feels like they have a chance to take control.

Why do we do this? How do we work together better across generations, and cultures? Consider what Paul writes to the Church of Philippi - read Philippians 2:1-16.

In verses 2-5, we are challenged to have the same perspective as Jesus. We are confronted with the fact that we do NOT value others more than ourselves or our own plans. If we did, wouldn't our families, congregations, and work places function differently?

Verse 6 tells us that Jesus did not consider His equality with God as something to be “grasped” - meaning ‘held onto by force.’ Instead He made Himself a servant of the plan God had for the benefit of all people. Whatever power and influence He had, He used it to make others powerful in God's plan, instead of protecting His personal interest or safety. Jesus’ perspective was focused on what would accomplish the best for everyone - in God's plans.

We struggle with Jesus' perspective because our motives get in the way. Our fear, insecurity, and desire for validation clutter our ability to truly serve others. We “grasp” our position and opportunities so firmly that we end up bending any other perspectives in a direction that supports our position or our control of the situation. This is one of the primary reasons why older and younger generations struggle to cooperate.

We miss the promise and the blessing in verse 9 because we hold on to our power. Jesus was lifted up and given a name greater than any other, a name at which every knee bows and every mouth confesses He is Lord. Why? Because He humbled Himself, and even gave His life in the service of God's mission - for the sake of others.

What if those who are older used power and influence to give voice and opportunity to those who see clearly what God is doing next? What if those who are younger could trust the wisdom and influence of those ahead of them, without being bent toward some pre-existing agenda in the name of legacy? What if BOTH could come to the table with humility and support for each other, and a commitment to ONE objective - God being seen and known?

  It will take those of us who are older, intentionally mentoring and unleashing younger people, without conforming them to our expectations. It will take a relentless commitment to Jesus being the one in charge, the one setting the mission, and ruthless examination of our own motives. (Maybe even allowing older and younger people to examine our motives, and letting God show us something beyond our own perception?)

Wherever you have influence, wherever you are seeking to make a difference, it's time we stop the vicious cycle of making a name for ourselves, and start following Jesus' example. I challenge you to consider Philippians 2:1-16, and let God reshape the way you operate with others.

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