Written by Jim Denison
I had a new flying experience yesterday: I sat beside a new flier. She is in the eighth grade and was traveling from Atlanta to Los Angeles to visit her brother. This was her first time in the air. Everything was interesting to her, from the security line to the attendants’ announcements. She was impressed that the airline served a beverage. She had never seen clouds from above or a city’s lights from the air. It was all new to her.
The other resident of our row is a financial consultant who flies even more than I do. When our novice asked about the length of the flight, he told her to the minute. He has made this flight every week for two months. Nothing about the experience was interesting to either of us.
They say that familiarity breeds contempt—it can also breed complacency. The congregation at Ephesus was the megachurch of her day. Jesus was impressed with their hard work, perseverance, endurance and theological integrity (Revelation 2:2-3). But tragically, they fell out of love with their Lord (v. 4). Their activities and success had made them comfortable and complacent. Their faith became so routine that it lost its passion. When the new wore off, there was nothing to take its place.
The enthusiasm of my flying friend caused me to make this commitment: I would try to see the world through new eyes today. And the Lord honored my request in remarkable ways.
I spent the morning hiking around White Rock Lake, one of my favorite places in Dallas. I couldn’t remember the last time I took a morning from work just to be alone with the Father. Ten minutes into my walk, I met a retired Air Force veteran who now befriends Muslims and brings them to church. A little later I observed a Buddhist priest with friends at a picnic. I encountered a young child without hair, most likely a cancer patient. I took a picture for a boy with his mother and grandfather—today is his seventh birthday. And I recorded avideo blog from the lake, something I’m just learning to do.
If I had not met my flying novice friend last night, I’m not sure I would have been open to any of these experiences today. Jeremiah was convinced that “his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23). If we have eyes to see, we will find our Father’s handiwork everywhere we look.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning was right:
Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God:
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round it, and pluck blackberries.
I think I’ll take off my shoes again tomorrow.
Dr. Denison’s cultural commentary originally appeared at http://www.denisonforum.org. It has been reposted here with permission of the Denison Forum on Truth and Culture.