Points to Ponder: Who Broke Your Glass?

Points to Ponder
Who Broke Your Glass?

We all know people who view life as a "glass half-empty" as opposed to the more positive perspective of being a "glass half-full." The situation is what it is; but how you are choosing to perceive it is your choice. Some people have a wonderful gift for finding the silver lining in every cloud. Then there are those who can manage to find a cloud in every silver lining.
I was talking to a widow whom I have known for many years. We were at a play place for kids where her grandchildren and my children were playing. As has been her custom, she told me about her numerous problems, her physical condition, her struggles in this economy, and how dire things will certainly become because she is living on the financial edge.
Some people her age are living on the financial edge. Some skip meals or resort to eating pet food. Some have to choose between paying for medication and buying food. Many can't afford to own a car or have health conditions that prevent them from driving. Some are confined to home and often have to rely on others to do their shopping or take them places.
This widow had none of those problems. Her home and late model car are paid for and her retirement provides a steady flow of income. Why doesn't she talk about how blessed she is? The glass is half-empty for her all the time, no matter how many good things have been and continue to be poured into it.
As I looked out the window, what I saw coupled with what I was hearing, displayed an interesting contrast. Between her accounts of how unfair life has been to her, I kept watching a man outside (perhaps in his 30's to 50's) pacing quietly back and forth, looking up and down the street. His jacket was dirty, his pants worn; an old green stretch cap covered most of his Afro. Occasionally he became animated, laughing and carrying on a conversation, gesturing with his hands. But no one was there. He was homeless. Probably he's mentally ill. The previous night he may have slept at the rescue mission or under a bridge. He seemed happy though, or at least content to be in the moment right where he was. My heart went out to this man, who was all alone.
I turned to listen to the widow who had slept in a comfortable bed, in her own home where she can lock her door and be safe from rainstorms and rats. Do we ever think of what life would be like if we had to live as that man does? But is that the way to think?
Doesn't it seem rather strange that people console themselves by saying, "There's always someone worse off than me"? If you meet such a person, should you go up and tell them that? "I am so grateful that you are in such a mess. Seeing that your situation is far worse than mine brings me great comfort. Thank you for being such a miserable wretch of a person. I feel so much better." Not the best way to win friends and influence people.
Ponder this: Are you so sure that someone who seems so much more worse off than you really is worse off? If what you have does not make you feel humbly grateful, perhaps you are worse off.
Jesus said,
"...One's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses" (Luke 12:15b).
This widow, as with so many people I've talked to, actually has realized this; however, she does not know that she's realized it. (What?) Unthankful people are miserable people. It's all in how they choose to perceive the glass.
Perspective becomes reality. This woman, just as some of you who are reading this now, is miserable and poor and struggling day by day even though she has resources for her material needs. But, "stuff" does not sustain life; the abundance simply magnifies the bankruptcy of one's soul.
It is what it is, but is it really as bad as it seems from your current perspective? What if it is? Then what?
"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God, and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7).
Give the "empty" half to God and rejoice in what is full.
The peace of God will supercede your perspective and help you think. Choose to think "half-full"; even daring to say "filled!" will change you. So, "...whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy - meditate on these things" (v. 8).
Paul wrote these words from prison. And he didn't even have cable.

Points to Ponder is a series of occasional articles written by Rev. Dennis Whitmore, Pastor of Hilltop Christian Fellowship of Clear Spring, MD. www.hilltopchristianfellowship.com. Listen to Pastor Dennis on WJEJ-1240 AM, Tues and Thurs, at 2:10am and 10:45am both days.