Are you able to take the long view when you think about ministry challenges? This week Karl and I visited the Grand Canyon for the first time with a group of friends. My jaw dropped automatically when I got my first glimpse. It’s stunningly beautiful. It had snowed the day before, and the contrast between white snow and reddish rock made the sight even more striking.
As we looked at the view, my friend and colleague, Jeff Savage, murmured “perspective.” (The photo above was taken by Janet Savage.) The bottom of the canyon exposes rock nearly 2 billion years old, according to the brochure the National Park Service provides. The erosion of the canyon began 5-6 million years ago. This gives me perspective on the problems that raise my blood pressure, whether they are personal challenges or church or denominational difficulties.
Here are some questions I’ve been trying to remember when I find my anxiety rising:
Will this matter tomorrow?
Will it matter a year from now?
Will it matter at the end of my life?
I can now add: will this matter in 5 million years?
Will it matter in 2 billion years?
And, of course, we Christians can add, Will it matter in eternity?
With many daily difficulties, the answer to the first question is, “No.” Getting caught in traffic, a computer breakdown, a colleague who doesn’t follow through — well, some of these may matter tomorrow, a little, but probably not much a year from now. If I can stop long enough to remember that, I’ll spend less time and energy fretting, and more time thinking about what I want to do that will matter tomorrow, at the end of my life, in 5 million years and eternally.