Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Tigger or Eeyore - It's a Choice!

I am convinced that the majority of our contentment is NOT dependent on our circumstance, but on our PERSPECTIVE and on how we process reality and respond to it. Abraham Lincoln once said that people can be as happy or unhappy as they make up their mind to be. It's about being Tiggerish, not Eeyorish!

My first children's sermon on the first Sunday of the year was memorable. I was trying to teach the kids the importance of having a positive outlook on life by focusing their attention on a container of punch that was "half full" or "half empty" depending on your perspective. Well, none of the kids had either of those two perspectives. I kept coaxing them to say one of them, and finally, one said tentatively, "halfway?" In all my preparation, I had not considered that as an option. It was accurate, true, even insightful, but not what I had wanted.

I commended her for getting the answer right, and then pulled out my ace in the pocket....actually, two aces....Tigger and Eeyore figures. They all knew who they were. I said Eeyore tended to look on the sad side of life and he'd say the bottle was half empty, while Tigger, always the optimist, would bounce up and down saying it's half full! I reminded the adults (the "real" target of many a children's sermon!) that children learn life perspectives from adults, and a negative life perspective is not what God calls us, too. I extended the sermon into my adult message focusing on how gratitude is a powerful....make that necessary perspective to see God work in one's life. I used Christ's feeding of the 5,000 (and that was just the men) from the five loaves and two fish, reported in all four gospels as an example. Each gospel records that before the "multiplication" of the food happened, Christ prayed and gave thanks. I maintain He wasn't merely thanking God for the food in his hand, but the miracle that was about to occur.

At the last supper as He broke the bread, Christ again thanked God. Then I made a few simple points about gratitude...throwing in the biblical teachings that complaining and worrying (sort of the opposite or absence of gratitude) were both sin. In away, doesn't the Bible tell us to be more like Tigger (minus the annoying part!) than Eeyore? Isn't that what Paul is telling us in Philippians 4:8: Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

This is my prayer for us all...that we might be more Tiggerish in 2008 than Eeyorish because the world is watching, and so are our kids!

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