Home Pastor's Corner . Are you a microscope or a telescope Christian?

. Are you a microscope or a telescope Christian?

ARE YOU A MICROSCOPE OR A TELESCOPE CHRISTIAN?


I have this awesome privilege to be married to a ‘biologian’. Now, she will insist that she is a ‘biologist’ and that there is no such word as ‘biologian’. My response is very apt. If this is true, then she is married to a theologist. Now whatever word you prefer, what has all this got to do with the title of my ‘Pastor’s corner’ article?

I was sitting the other day contemplating on one of my frustrations in Christianity. Why do so many Christians act like ‘biologians’ instead of like ‘astronomers’? For the purpose of this article, Biologists use microscopes and astronomers use telescopes.  We know that both instruments are used to magnify the view of an object. I still remember my first microscope as a kid. If I remember correctly I could magnify the image of the smallest particles 30 or 40 times. The difference between the microscope and a telescope is that the microscope is used to magnify something small, while the telescope is used to magnify something big.

So, let’s spiritualise this illustration. In my view there are Christians who magnify the small with a ‘microscope mentality’ and others magnify something big with a ‘telescope mentality.’


Those with a ‘microscope mentality’ in the church love to focus on small and petty issues normally based on preference, tradition and what makes them feel nostalgic. They focus on things that are an irritation to them in the same way a virus is an irritation to their body. Their concern is their own comfort in the church of Christ. They get irritated by the things that are not done their way. Things that concern them are things like programmes, personal comfort, personal desires, what they like or don’t like, what their view of things are or not, how they understand things or not. They become meticulous about small things just like the Pharisees who according to Jesus were meticulous about their giving and counted out a tenth of cumin, mint and dill, but they missed the greater things. The Pharisees magnified the small things but they missed the big things, and their hearts were far from God. This kind of mentality is seen in complaints about facilities, seating, personal comfort, dress code, temperature, music, worship, length of services, Bible translations, length of sermons, programmes, personal interests, style of ministry, which version of the Bible is used, style of pastor, acceptability of fellow  members, personal space, when last they have been visited or not, etc. In the end they want you to view everything through their ‘microscope mentality’ and then things must be done their way or otherwise they will find another place that is closer to that which fits their comfort zone. In the end, they are the standard, and the same right is not awarded to the rest of the body. It is the ‘MY WAY’ or ‘NO WAY’ mentality, where I am magnified, and things are done to bless me. It is in such a contrast to Paul’s view in Galatians 2:20 (ESV) where he says: 20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

Sadly, I have seen too many of these Christians around over the years. I have grown up in the pastorate as my dad was a pastor, and I can recall church meeting after church meeting where the minors were majored on and the small things and issues were magnified. I remember discussions at a church meeting where a long time was spent to discuss whether the ‘vibrato’ on the organ was set too high or not, and the church was divided into two camps on the issue, and they flew at each other’s throats. I saw a brand new church split at the day of it’s founding because some wanted the grape juice at communion served out of one single cup and others wanted it served in small cups.  Eventually everybody had to express an opinion, and there was division based on minor issues that were magnified. Sadly the church died quicker than what it started. In the end it is all about personal opinion glory and pride, as Scripture is silent on these issues.

 

So, what does God require from us. I believe God wants us to be ‘telescope Christians.’ The purpose of a telescope again is to look up and to magnify that which is large. I love Paul’s attitude in Philippians 1:20 (ESV) 20 as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored (magnified) in my body, whether by life or by death.” The ESV uses the word the word ‘honoured’, while some other translations use the word ‘magnified’. Paul had one concern. Whether he was in prison, alive or dead, nothing else mattered but the magnification of Christ. I have often expressed our desire that people must not visit Logos Community Church and exclaim ‘what a church’, no, they should leave and exclaim ‘what a God’. For Paul it was not about him, but about God. It reminds us of the words of Christ in Matthew 23:12 (ESV) 12 Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” All the woes expressed by Christ in Matthew 23, were against self-magnification opposed to God magnification. The way the Pharisees magnified self was by focusing on the minors, by focusing on the externals instead of focusing on the magnification of God.

Oh fellow Christian. Search your heart, turn your eyes to Jesus, focus on the glory of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, humble yourself, rather sacrifice some of your own comfort and join the church in declaring the praises of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. The church may not die with you, so let’s rather put all our focus on the King of Glory, as He will always be the head of the church. I love Paul’s words in Ephesians chapter 3. Ephesians 3:10 (ESV) 10 so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.” We have one aim and that is to make God’s manifold wisdom known and not our own, why? Because: 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen”. Ephesians 3:21 (ESV)

Join me in putting away those microscopes of personal magnification, and let’s lift those telescopes high and let’s magnify the Lord alone. Psalm 34:3 (ESV) 3 Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together!”

 

I trust that the song below just be a simple reminder of where our focus belongs?