Thursday, October 6, 2016

The Paradox Perspective

UV 2087/10000 The Paradox Perspective
As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.
2 Corinthians 6 v 10

The paradox of this world is that even when people attain their desires, they are not joyful or satisfied. A new type of frustration and hopelessness sets in once their ambition is fulfilled. In contrast, St Paul excelled in writing about the paradox of faith. He knew that he was poor in terms of worldly possessions. Yet, he considered himself rich and able to enrich others as true riches consists of real wisdom and understanding. It is more valuable than gold and silver or precious stones. The wisdom and knowledge of Christ had so enriched Paul that he had no thought for worldly riches. He was persecuted, imprisoned, flogged, on the point of being killed on several occasions. Yet, He rejoiced in these conditions that would normally depress a person and cause him to be full of sorrows.

We too need to develop this paradox perspective so that we have a different value system to assess our lives and that of others. We should measure our riches in terms of the extent of our faith. For in the promises of the Lord we are in possession of all things. We are unimportant from the world’s perspective but from the Lord’s perspective we are well known and valuable as His children by faith. Our yardstick of progress is not the bottomline of profits but how obedient and submissive we have been to the commands and precepts of the Lord. The paradox perspective enables us to be rich when we are poor, joyful when we are beset by many sorrows, peaceful despite many nagging worries, strong when we are physically and emotionally weak.

The paradox perspective enabled the apostles to worship the Lord joyfully when they were in fetters and imprisoned. It enables believers to be full of zeal and comfort when they are being martyred as it happened in the early church and they were thrown to lions to tear them apart. The paradox perspective is what is described in the beautiful attitudes that Jesus extols in His sermon on the mount. It is a state of blessedness that circumstances have little to do with. It is about having a positive attitude even in the most negative of situations and circumstances. The paradox perspective also implies that even when the Lord blesses us in terms of worldly position or riches or fame, we conduct ourselves as if we do not possess any of these things. Christ being the be all and end all of life- when we are in Christ and with Him, we are in possession of all things in this world and the next. This is the reason Jesus spoke of the merchant who sold all his possessions to own the most precious keystone jewel in the world- the kingdom of God. It is the keystone or fulcrum on which all life turns.

Prateep V Philip

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