Monday, November 23, 2009

The Big Picture ( II Tim. 2 )

One of the metaphors Paul frequently uses is the soldier. I sometimes wonder how my life would be different today if I had answered my country's call back in the late '60s. When you march in demonstrations against your nation's military, even if only out of a desire to belong, a desire to impress your peers, it leaves a nagging suspicion, in the back of your mind, about your own manliness, your own courage, your own ability to face hardship and adversity. I know, logically, that my nation hasn't participated in a just war for well over 150 years. I know, as Smedley Butler realized, that most of our more recent wars have made a handful of plutocrats really rich, while costing the expendables their lives, limbs, and sanity.

Yet on a level beyond logic, a sense that one has avoided the challenge of his generation does leave one at a loss when talking with those who took the challenge, measured themselves against it, and measured up.

Well, as Uncle Remus used to say, "Dat's needer heer nor dare." Paul used the metaphor of military service to warn Timothy against the tyranny of petty distractions:
2Ti 2:4 Askerlik yapan kişi günlük yaşamla ilgili işlere karışmaz; kendisini askerliğe çağıranı hoşnut etmeye çalışır.
A few words:
  • Askerlik -- military. asker (soldier) + lik (participating in the characteristics of)
  • günlük -- mundane. gün (day) + lük (participating in the characteristics of)
  • yaşamla -- of life
  • işlere -- works
Now, on the one hand, most of life does consist of small duties, routine obligations. The problem happens when one gets immersed in the urgent to the extent of neglecting the important. There are always trivial things one could be doing. Programmers call those distractions "dogwash." When a major project is approaching its deadline, other things suddenly look interesting. Like washing the dog.

Only a vision of the Commander who conscripted us has sufficient power to break us out of the tyranny of the urgent, the immediate, and keep our eyes focused on the big picture.

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