One Sunday as she was leaving the church building the preacher cheerfully exclaimed, “It’s beautiful day, sister! How ya’ doing!”
She turned and with a look of resignation whined, “Pretty good under the circumstances.”
To which the preacher quickly retorted, Well, what are you doing under them!”
God made us creatures of choice. We have the ability to choose circumstances. Change circumstances. Improve circumstances.
Often our vision and imagination is more important that our circumstances. It reminds me of the story of two shoe salesmen traveling to a foreign country to sell shoes. The first salesman called immediately and said, “Get me the next flight home. No one here wears shoes.” The second salesman called back and said, “Send me the entire inventory we have. No one here wears shoes.”
The circumstances were the same for both men, but each one saw it differently.
And of course attitude plays a big role in dealing with circumstances. I read of a TV reporter who went to a building site to interview workers. He asked a mason, “How do you like your job? I hate it, he said. It’s the most boring job in the world.” That same reporter asked another mason on the other side of the building the same question. “Oh its great because I see myself building an architectural masterpiece.” Same job. Same circumstances. Two different attitudes.
However, it is not always possible to change our circumstances. They are what they are. And must be dealt with. Accepted. Embraced.
The apostle Paul said, “for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances” (Phil. 4:11) He went on to say “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want”
Paul’s circumstances included being shipwrecked. Beaten. Stoned. Imprisoned. These were not circumstances that Paul deserved. They weren’t his fault. Neither could he avoid them. But Paul accepted them with the spirit of Christian contentment.
Not all circumstances are bad. Sometimes we have to choose the better over the good. Circumstances are often temporary. And not all circumstances are the result of our choices. The wise man observed “time and chance happens to them all.” (Eccl. 9:11).
This past week circumstances have affected my daily posting of the ThePreachersWord. I missed it. I hope you did. But sometimes it’s helpful, as well as humbling, not to be in total control and do everything you want. I think we’re back on track!
Just one final thought about circumstances from pen of the apostle Paul.
“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (I Thess. 5:17-18).
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman