Focusing on the BIGGER picture

The game is finished.  You feel exited, disappointed, frustrated or you could just be thinking: ‘”If only he kicked the ball” or “If only he did not knock the ball” or “If only he prevented the breakaway”. You now sit and wait for the interview with the captain or athlete to hear their viewpoint on the matter. I love the interview after the game or sport event — it is always interesting to hear the perspective of the athlete himself. Most of the time we realise after hearing the interview that we only watched the event out of one or two perspectives and not the whole perspective.

This week I watched two interviews that spoke strongly to me. The first one was with the Australian cricket captain. South Africa had just beaten Australia by seven wickets. The Australian captain said a team can only really say that they are the best one day cricket team in the world when they win the World Cup in this format. He meant that these games don’t really matter. We have to wait for next year’s Cricket World Cup to actually see which team is the best cricket nation in the one day format of the game. He had the bigger picture in mind.

The second interview was with Javier Gomez, the winner of the World Triathlon Series, after completing the Grand Final World Championship race in Edmonton, Canada this weekend. It was an interesting race to watch with Alistair Brownlee, the Olympic champion and Commonwealth Champion, on form again. The contest was on between Alistair and Javier — or so I thought…

Javier was ranked first and Alistair’s brother, Jonathan Brownlee, was ranked second on the World Series ranking at the start of the race.  I thought that Javier would want to beat Alistair and so secure his first place in the World Champs.  On the other side of the coin Javier had to beat Alistair’s brother, Jonathan, as well in order for Javier to stay number one on the World Series ranking and therefore win the Series.    

The race began
And so the race began. Javier had a good swim. In the bike the second pack met up with the first pack in the middle of the bike leg.  That is when Alistair and two other athletes succeeded in making a good breakaway leaving the rest of the pack behind. I thought that Javier and the rest of the chasing pack would make a bigger effort to catch the leading group with Alistair in it, but the leading pack seamed to go faster and faster and the chasing pack slower and slower. I could not believe that the world’s greatest triathlete, Javier Gomez, didn’t make a greater effort to win the race.  Alistair managed to stay ahead and he won the World Championship race while Javier managed to outrun Jonathan Brownlee to secure his number one position on the World Triathlon Series.

During his interview after the race Javier Gomez said that Alistair got away, but it was not his race to race.  His race was against Jonathan in order to secure his World Triathlon Series number one position. You see Javier could have tried to catch Alistair on the day to try and win that one race, but in doing that might have outdone himself, gotten tired and given Jonathan the opportunity to beat him and steal the number one spot from him as Series winner. Javier Gomez had the bigger picture in mind.

We as Christians should, in the same way, have the bigger picture in mind in our day to day walk of life. What is the BIGGER picture?  The bigger picture is to love God with all our hearts and to love our neighbours as we love ourselves: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:30-31 NIV)

We can win that business deal on the day by walking over a few people or win the fight of rage with the taxi driver in front of us, but did we really keep the bigger picture in mind? It doesn’t help us winning a fight on the day, but losing the battle and damaging our testimony in the long term. 

Let’s go and meditate on the following scripture during this week: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?  And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Mathew 5: 43-48)

Not easy
It is not easy to keep the bigger picture in mind. It sometimes means that you won’t perform as people in the world expect you to perform, but if great sports people can look at the bigger picture then how much more should we keep the bigger picture in mind.

I watched an interview with one of the most respected evangelists in the world — Reinhard Bonnke. He was asked how he deals with people and media that sometimes make negative comments to and about him, His answer was one of the most profound that I have ever heard. He said that the only opinion that matters is the opinion of God Himself. If we understand that then we can always keep our mind on the bigger picture. The second profound thing that he said was that if only God’s opinion matters in our lives we won’t be fazed by the praises of people in any sense — if we aren’t fazed by the praises of people then we also won’t be fazed by negativity people may throw at us.

Let’s go into this month and keep the bigger picture in mind. May we live our lives for the audience of ONE which is God Himself.  May people have “interviews” with you on your day to day game of life and ask you what your perspective of the life is and why you differ from the world. May your answer bring the bigger picture into their minds.  May your answer be something like:  “I love the Lord my God with all my life and His love in shining through me.”


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