Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Can't See the Forest for the Trees

Do you ever wonder about some of our figures of speech, or our proverbial sayings? One of my favorites (except when it applies to me), is "He/She can't see the forest for the trees." It means that someone is so focused on the details that they miss the big picture. Or put even more simply, it's when someone is missing the point.

In John chapter 11 we have an amazing account of Jesus healing someone. This isn't just a "regular supernatural healing" (as if there is such a thing); not just a blind man seeing or a lame man walking. This is a man who is dead...and Jesus calls him from the grave and brings him back to life. So what happens next? You'd think that every single person who saw or heard about this would immediately bow down and worship Him. Some do. But others, well, read for yourself...

"If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.” (John 11:48) 

They, (the religious leaders), couldn't see the forest for the trees. They were missing the point. Here they have the fulfillment to their very own Scriptures living, breathing, healing and moving among them, in their lives and they missed it. Too focused on their own position to see the Son of God. I wonder, though, if you and I would be different? 

Part of my job has me leading worship on a regular basis for our local congregation. Let's say for a moment that a new, young, good-looking great guitar-playing worship leader joined our church, and I decided to let him lead a few weeks. He's amazing. Humble, talented, Spirit-filled, teachable, and our church is clearly being moved to worship in ways they have never experienced under my leadership. Nobody says anything to me, but I can tell that all eyes are on me. Will I embrace him? Will I let him lead even more, or even position him in a place to take over? Or will I squelch his leadership, too consumed or worried about my position and what I might lose? Will I miss the forest for the trees?

You see, it's all too easy for us to point fingers or cast judgment on how the Pharisees and religious leaders of Jesus' time responded (or didn't respond) to Him. And yet when I think hard enough and search my own heart, I am humbled...and I know that were it not for His grace in my life, I could easily slip down the same path they were on, a path that leads me away from God.

The point? I think this is a case for humility. A dangerous prayer to pray is "God, keep me humble..." and yet I pray that prayer because I know the other path is so, so dangerous. Will join me in this prayer?

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