Perspective Matters

Keith Knight

“The people soon began to complain to the Lord about their hardships, and when the Lord heard them, his anger blazed against them. (NLT).  Numbers 11:1a

As the 2012 Olympic Games in London recently concluded, I was inspired and encouraged by one particular athlete. Like most people, I typically cheer and root for a local hometown hero if one exists.  Sometimes it’s an athlete from the Southern California area or at the very least, someone from the U.S.A. team.  This year’s Olympic Games had its share of spotlights.  Athletes like Gabby Douglas, Michael Phelps and Allison Felix were all on center stage, receiving a Gold Medal in their respective sport.  But as the games unfolded this year, I found myself gravitating and pulling for an athlete from another county.  This athlete helped me to remember that Perspective Matters.

Oscar Pistorius is a 25 year old man from South Africa that made the Olympic team for his country.  He represented South Africa in the 400 meter race and the 4 x 400 relay as well. He appears to be a brave, polite, and funny man. His testimony shows that he doesn’t play the victim and never complains. His story is unique.  You see, Oscar was born without a fibula in each leg, the slender bone that runs from below the knee down to the ankle. Both legs were amputated below the knee before he was a year old.  And barely six months later, had he learned to get around on prosthetic legs.  “My mother said to us one morning, ‘Carl, you put on your shoes, and Oscar, you put on your prosthetic legs.’  And that was the last we heard of it. I didn’t grow up thinking I had a disability,” he said, pausing for effect.  “I grew up thinking I had different shoes.”

Soon he was playing sports ranging from wrestling to rugby at school.  The story of why he switched to track soon after that was classic.  It began with his knee getting shattered at an important high school rugby match and ended with some erratic parents yelling at him to “shake it off.”  Oscar did and he decided to devote his attention to track, a sport he previously thought of mostly as a conditioning program.

I felt a deep sense of conviction the more I learned about this man.  I thought of how many times I have complained about so many things in life.  The aches and pains in my body.  I find myself complaining about circumstances and the injustices in this world.  That life seems unfair.  The list can seem endless and the pity party can go on.  Maybe you can relate.

But the root of bad attitudes and complaining begins with wrong thoughts and dissatisfaction.  Feeling doubtful and being skeptical.  From there it moves to grumbling about God and your present circumstances.  The complaining and grumbling then turn to bitterness and resentment.  Finally, it’s followed by rebellion and hostility.

Oscar Pisorius did not receive a medal at the 2012 Olympic Games in London but he did share this, "It was just an amazing experience," as he told hundreds of waiting reporters from around the world.  "It's moments like this when you step back and say, 'Wow, I've been blessed by the Lord.”

How about you?  Where do you stand today?  How is your attitude?  Are you not fulfilled?  Are you ungrateful?  Do you feel like life is unfair?  I challenge you, guard your heart.  Take a step back, pause and reflect on your life.  Be content, be thankful, be humble and don’t forget to be blessed in the Lord.  Why, because Perspective Matters.

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