It might be my favorite sermon illustration of all time, even if it was told by my little brother.
(It is somewhat surreal to be a member of the church where my younger brother is the senior pastor. I mean, he’s up there preaching and I’m sitting in the pew picturing him throwing a Monopoly board across the living room when we were kids. And don’t get me started on how great it is when he uses stories from our childhood in his sermons.)
Anyway…back to my story. He brought us a wonderful object lesson awhile ago.
He took a penny from his pocket and examined it.
“Wow, I’ve never seen a problem like this before. This is a bit worrying.”
He held it closer.
“I mean, I wonder if I should be more concerned about this…it could be something really bad.”
He brought the penny even closer.
“And now that I’m looking at it, wow, this is bad. I just don’t know what I’m going to do. I’ve never encountered something like this before.”
Then he brought the penny right up next to his eye.
“Look at that! It even blocks out the sun! This is by far the worst problem I’ve ever had.”
He didn’t have to explain the point further to us. The message came through loud and clear.
We can take the problems in our lives, things as small as a penny, and block out the Son when we focus on them.
I’ve done this so many times.
If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, you know I operate a small daycare. It’s a job where it’s easy to focus on the little problems, the little mishaps, and let them ruin my whole day. Or week. Or month.
Take last Friday for instance. I don’t know what was in the air, but suddenly children who were–I’ll try to put this delicately–“fully-trained in using the facilities,” forgot that they were fully-trained in using said facilities.
Like I told my cousin later, “It was a day that no amount of coffee, chocolate, or bleach could redeem.”
I confess that as the day wore on and the pile of take-home laundry grew, I started to get annoyed. (Inside of course. On the outside, I had my happy-daycare-lady smile firmly in place.) And by the time I got home, I was rather out of sorts.
But really? Really, it wasn’t worth worrying about. Yes, it created work for me. But it’s my job, after all. Kids do have accidents. (Shocker, I know!)
I had let a series of little things get me down. Just like a penny can block out the sun.
I love Psalms. I appreciate the psalmist’s honesty about his feelings, and how he cries out to God when he is discouraged. Psalms is a good place to go when we are feeling overwhelmed by all the problems in life, because the psalms urge us to look up.
Look up past the problems.
Look up past the difficulties.
Look up past the annoyances.
Look up to a God Who is in control, Who can handle all this day throws at you, the big stuff and the little stuff.
Don’t let the penny-problems in your life block out the Son.
“Unto thee lift I up mine eyes, O thou that dwellest in the heavens.” Psalm 123:1
“I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help? My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1-2