T. PIERCE BROWN
This morning as I was walking, with the temperature about 20 degrees, the cold wind hit my face and I looked down. I saw a dime, which I picked up and put in my pocket. For a few minutes I continued to look down until I suddenly thought of a story I heard about a man who found a dime, and for the next 20 years he went around with his head down. He acquired 12,000 bottle caps, five pennies, one nickel, various assorted items, a crooked neck, a humped back and a soured, disappointed outlook on life.
Then I thought of Psalm 5:3, “In the morning I will direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.” Also Psalm 121:1 came to mind: “I will lift up my eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my help.” Since I needed a lesson on looking up, I decided to share some thoughts with you.
Many times I have felt like Elijah who thought he was the only one left who was serving God. When I see the Lord’s church being led into apostasy on every hand, and almost every false doctrine one can imagine being introduced, I write articles and preach sermons against those things. Then I realize that one can look down so much he may almost lose the power to look up. It still bothers me very much to hear preachers who advocate positive preaching so much that they never preach against anything except those who preach against something. It also bothers me when I get bulletins and hear preachers who can never seem to find anything about which to write or speak except those who have “forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars and slain thy prophets with the sword” while they alone are left.
My point today is not to advocate that we close our eyes to the dangers or false doctrines that beset us, surround us, confront us, confound us or confuse us. Nor is it to suggest that we follow the advice of Gamaliel and leave all these things alone, hoping they will go away. It is to advise that we follow the admonition of David and look up.
We need to look up in thanksgiving for the good things that we have, and for the many who are contending earnestly for the faith once for all delivered to the saints. We need to look up in humble awareness of our own failures, sins and short comings and praise God for His gracious forgiveness and patience with us. We need to look up in gratitude and wonder and praise God for His allowing us the honor of sharing with Him in the most glorious task of which the human or divine mind can conceive–the redemption of mankind.
When my children were small, I would say, “Clean your room before you go out and play.” Then I would check to see if they had done it properly. Seldom had they done it to my satisfaction. Instead of looking up and praising them for the good they did, then suggesting that in the future they could do better in some specific way, I often would simply say, “You did not put up your baseball glove” or whatever was wrong. I am ashamed of that, for I have often given counsel to others to look up and praise that which was praiseworthy. However, I have often failed to do it when I should.
Even in our prayers, it is possible that the focus is downward on our needs without first looking up and putting the focus on God. You will note in what we call the Lord’s prayer, He started by looking up. “Our Father who art in heaven; hallowed be Thy name.” Then we may properly look down on our needs and the needs of others.
So, although it is not wrong or improper to look down when you walk, for you may not only find a dime, but may avoid pot holes and breaks in the sidewalk, we need to realize that if we go through life with the primary focus on things at our feet, we may miss the sunrise, or the beauty of the mountains. We see a lot of dirt, but if we fail to lift up our eyes to the hills from whence cometh our help, we may miss some of the most important things in life. Look up!