the weblog of Alan Knox

Shifting Focus

Posted by on Nov 11, 2010 in discipleship, service | 2 comments

Shifting Focus

A few days ago, I saw a short video (just over 4 minutes long) on Facebook called “Paradigm Shift.” (If you have Facebook, you can watch the video at this link. If you do not have Facebook, you can also watch the video on YouTube here.)

The video begins with the main character thinking only about himself. Each encounter with different people is viewed as an annoyance, a hindrance, a distraction, or a delay. He never thinks about the other person.

In the course of the video, he is handed a special pair of glasses. Now, when he looks at someone, he sees a problem that the person is facing. The man who cut in front of him at the coffee shop recently lost his job. The barista is fighting addiction. The woman who took his parking place is grieving her best friend. The boy who skateboarded behind his car just needs someone to care.

At the end, the man decides to talk to the boy, indicating that he is going to be the person to care.

Of course, we don’t have special glasses to tell us what is troubling other people. But, like the man in the video, we must begin by considering the other person. We must (as Paul would put it) think of others as more important than ourselves.

This means that in our day-to-day activity (yes, it’s not just on Sundays anymore), we must deny ourselves (our flesh?) and instead choose to honor others.

Then, since we don’t have special glasses, another step is required. Instead of simply considering others as more important and thinking about others, we must make the next step of talking to other people. That’s right… we have to step out of our busy lives and spend time conversing with the people that God brings across our path.

I know… you’re right… you have places to go and things to do. But, if we don’t make time for other people, then are they really important to us? If we can’t stop and talk to someone – and perhaps help them as well – do we really love them?

It would be great to have special glasses or know what’s in the heart of men like Jesus, but we don’t. We demonstrate that we love God and love others by begin willing to set aside our agenda and our plans, and spending time with the people around us, talking with them, listening to them, caring about them, and then caring for them.

The first step is the hardest, I think. What is that step? The first step is getting our minds off of ourselves, and thinking about and caring about other people. Yes, even that person that cuts you off in traffic, or breaks in front of you at a restaurant, or takes a long time in the checkout line.

Can we do that? Can we actually care about other people?


2 Comments

Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 11-11-2010

    Thanks Alan,

    Great post and even greater timing. I needed that.

    Strange how addition equals subtraction sometimes.

    I have felt like I’m dragging a cart full of junk. If I would allow something stronger than me to pull that load, it would free me up (my strength, my mind, my focus) to simply open my eyes and look around as I travel down this road.

  2. 11-11-2010

    Sol,

    Thanks. I appreciate your article too. (See Sol’s article here: “Depression?“)

    -Alan

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