I have two weeks on sabbatical from my congregation. When I return you will begin receiving postings on this blog at least once a week. To get us started, however, and reconnected, I offer this guest blog by a good friend and former missionary Dale Miller. -Steve
“Fulfill my joy by being like-minded . . . Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 2:2, 5
A little boy strutting through the backyard, baseball cap in place, toting ball and bat, was overheard talking to himself, “I’m the greatest hitter in the world.” Then he tossed the ball into the air, swung at it and missed. “Strike one!” Undaunted he picked up the ball, threw it into the air and said to himself, “I’m the greatest baseball hitter ever,” and swung at the ball again. Again he missed. “Strike two!” He paused a moment to examine his bat and ball carefully. Then a third time he threw the ball into the air. “I’m the greatest hitter who ever lived,” he said. He swung the bat hard a third time. He cried out, “Wow! Strike three! What a pitcher! I’m the greatest pitcher in the world!”
I like the kid’s attitude. I’ll bet he’ll go far, no matter what he chooses to do in life. His spirit reminds me of something I read about Thomas Edison. In December 1914, the great Edison Laboratories in West Orange, New Jersey, were almost destroyed by fire. In one night, Edison lost two million dollars’ worth of equipment and the record of much of his life’s work. Edison’s son, Charles, ran frantically around trying to find his father. Finally he found him, standing near the fire, his face red in the glow, his white hair blown by the winter winds. “My heart ached for him,” Charles Edison said. “He was no longer young, and everything was being destroyed. He spotted me. ‘Where’s your mother?’ he shouted. ‘Find her. Bring her here. She’ll never see anything like this again as long as she lives.'”
The next morning, walking among the charred embers of so many of his hopes and dreams, the sixty-seven-year-old Edison said, “There’s great value in disaster. All our mistakes are burned up. Thank God we can start anew.”
With an attitude like that, no wonder Edison’s name is still prominent eighty years later. The point Paul was making in Philippians 2 is that our attitudes are important, perhaps more important than our actions, because they’re the foundation on which our actions are built.
As he wrote to his friends at Philippi, the apostle Paul was in prison in Rome. Paul saw everything that happened to him through the lens of his service to Christ. Outwardly he was a prison of Caesar, but inwardly he considered himself a bond-slave to Jesus Christ. Paul’s attitude was one of humble service to the Savior who rescued him from a life of selfishness and self-centeredness. It’s no wonder Paul had an attitude of love toward everyone he met, even toward the Roman soldiers who guarded him day and night.
Viktor E. Frankl, a prisoner held in a Nazi concentration camp wrote, “Everything can be taken from a person but one thing: the last of human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
And there are always choices to make. Every day, every hour, offers you to opportunity to make a decision, a decision which determines whether you will or will not submit to the powers that threaten to rob you of your joy. So my friend, today I challenge you to choose a joyful attitude, to choose an attitude of love, even when others align themselves against you. Choose your attitude!
Determined to find joy in serving Jesus!
Pastor Dale Miller, Jr. is privileged to serve as the Senior Pastor of the Newburg First Church of God
“Where Christ is found, love is felt, and lives are changed!”
260 Newburg Road, Newburg, PA 17240
Mailing address: PO Box 160, Newburg, 17240
Email Address: Newburgfcog@centurylink.net