It’s Monday, June 29, 2009 at 11:03pm and I’m just sitting down to type my July newsletter article (which was due on June 20th). The last few weeks have been a bit hectic. Emily, Sammie, and I have been in-and-out of town throughout the month for family and school obligations. This past week was filled with great joy as Sammie participated in her first Vacation Bible School (what a blast)! And, I’ve been scrambling in the midst of all of this to get my notes together for That Thing (our senior high camping ministry), as I will be preaching 9 times in 5 days during the week of July 5th! In all honesty, I’m desperately attempting to put something on paper so that Joyce can run the newsletter tomorrow. And then…it happens.
At 11:05pm, the phone rings. I look at the caller ID and it’s one of my best friends in the world. Given that he is married and has two children, I know that he understands that phone calls after 9pm should be of the emergency nature. So, I answered with the expectation that I would hear about something horrible that happened to one of our closest friends.
Thankfully, that was not the case. Instead, it became quickly apparent that my friend just needed to vent. He had just finished helping lead a worship service where 200 senior high students either committed or re-committed their lives to Jesus Christ. He told me about the amazing power of the Holy Spirit working throughout the worship experience. He told me about the passionate worship and the excellent preaching that took place (he wasn’t bragging…he was the emcee…not the preacher). He spoke of how amazing the sacrament of Holy Communion had been. I know this doesn’t sound like venting, but stick with me.
Every thing was absolutely amazing and he was praising God and thanking Him for allowing him to play a part in such a powerful God moment. As my friend made his way out of the auditorium, he ran into another one of our old friends who we’ll call “Mr. Negativity.”
Mr. Negativity decided that every thing that happened in the auditorium was “wrong…all wrong.” My friend asked Mr. Negativity to explain. Mr. Negativity went on to moan and groan about one minor detail that he observed during Communion. He was upset about who was on the stage and who was not on stage. My good friend said, “Really? Did you just witness the same thing I did? Because if you did, a minor detail like that would be the last thing on your mind.” However, Mr. Negativity decided he needed to really let my friend know how upset he was and he went on for over an hour with his complaints.
Sometimes, we get so caught up in what we’re missing that we fail to realize the positive things that are taking place in our midst. We focus on what is not happening that we totally miss the God-moment occurring right before us. And, I’ve got to be honest. I don’t really think we need any more from Mr. Negativity.
In Hebrews 10:24, the writer reminds us to “consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” He doesn’t call us to point out what we’re not doing. He tells us to be an encouragement to one another.
We all may have a tendency to lean towards becoming a Mr. or Mrs. Negativity. Paul would remind us to “Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again – rejoice…Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” (Philippians 4:4, 8).
Mr. Negativity made a decision to focus on what wasn’t happening. He made a choice to focus on the minor detail that just happened to go wrong. It’s my considered opinion that he should have been focusing on the 200 kids whose lives have been forever changed. It is my hope and prayer that each of us can “fix our thoughts on what is true and honorable and right.”