Boutros Boutros-Ghali is gone - the man who was Secretary General of the United Nations through much of the 1990s.
Boutros Boutros-Ghali was replaced by a highly respected African diplomat with the comparatively boring name of Kofi Annan. As the spotlight shifted to the new Secretary General, reporters began to learn more about his life, including an enlightening true story he told from his childhood. His teacher came into his class one day when he was a boy, and hung a big white piece of paper on the board with a little black dot in the lower right hand corner. The teacher asked a simple question of his class, "What do you see, boys?" Everyone shouted out eagerly, "The dot! The black dot!" That's when the teacher said, "That's interesting. Doesn't anyone see a big white piece of paper? After all, the dot is just one little spot on this huge page." The Secretary General of the U.N. said he never forgot the lesson from that day - in areas such as negotiations, let's say. Don't get stuck staring at a little dot!
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You about "Dot Fixation."
Don't let the dot make you miss the big picture! That was the lesson that changed the outlook of a future world leader. It may be the same lesson you need right now. Because we usually make mistakes when we see only the dot in front of us.
It was the mistake the Psalmist was making in our word for today from the Word of God, Psalm 73, beginning at verse 2. "But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold. For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked." The writer was looking at his own struggle and comparing it with the apparently easy lives of those who didn't care about God, and he was in a downward spiral, emotionally and spiritually. He says, "Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure." Part of his frustration is that he can't really tell anyone his dark feelings because it would hurt people. He says, "If I had said, 'I will speak thus,' I would have betrayed Your children." This man is really hurting. And maybe you can identify.
But in verse 17, there is a sudden and dramatic turn. He says, "It was oppressive to me...til I entered the sanctuary of God." From that point on, the psalmist is hopeful and victorious, celebrating a God who guides him, who is always with him, who is working on a big and perfect plan. He says, "Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth there is nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart." This is Psalm 73. You need to read it for yourself.
We have just heard the heart of one man who was sinking for one basic reason - he was focused on the dot of his present circumstances. And a man who finally found relief and hope - when he focused instead on the big picture of God and all He was doing in his life.
Which is the same choice you have right now. When you're only looking at the dot right in front of you, you usually make mistakes. You sink into worry or discouragement when you focus on the dot of your current situation. You hurt those you love when you focus just on what they are doing right now instead of one the big picture of your whole relationship. You fall to temptation when you just focus on the sinful opportunity Satan has dangled in front of you instead of the big picture of what this will do to your life.
God may be asking you right now, "So what do you see?" If it's just the dot in front of you, you will probably get it wrong. Let your Lord lift your eyes to the larger canvas on which today's dot is very small - the canvas of an all-powerful, all-loving Father working in your life and His unstoppable, eternal plan for you.