Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only” (Matthew 4: 8-10).
The question comes almost every time. It begins like this. “How many times have you been to Israel?” I answer, “We have been blessed with 10 trips since 2000.” Somewhere within the next few questions will come this one: “But isn’t it dangerous there?”
It is a fair question. But it demonstrates two truths. First, in a 24/7, ratings-seeking, media-driven world, our images are shaped by the choices that the media make as to where to focus the camera lens. Second, our view of the world is influenced greatly by the lens through which we see.
Admittedly I am not an expert on the Middle East. I just did the math. Since 2000 my wife and I have spent a cumulative total of six months in Israel and Palestine. That calculates to only about 4 percent of those years of my life. It is a small percentage.
Prior to 2000 my view of the region was shaped by the camera lens and news media. It was all that I had to work with. Since then my lens has changed. The media lens frustrates me and no longer influences my views. It is selective and subjective. It is intentionally biased toward images that will increase ratings and revenue.
The lens is crucial to our lives too. The lens shapes our worldview. The lens shapes who we are, what we believe, and how we live. The lens draws us to our center. The critical question is – what is your lens?
For believers the lens is God’s Word. In Christian schools we call it the foundation on which we are built. The theologian John Calvin called Scripture the spectacles through which we properly see God and his creation. In the Christian schools that I serve, we hold a reformed educational worldview. By that we mean that biblical truth and faith are imbedded into every part of curriculum. We believe that faith, learning, and life are three strands that cannot be broken but are inseparable. We believe as Abraham Kuyper stated that every square inch of creation belongs to God.
The world looks through a different lens. The world’s lens is the human eye. The world doesn’t see the need to put on the spectacles of Scripture. The world puts human thought at the center. It all started in the garden when Adam and Eve decided that their way was better than God’s way. Through time the worldview of the world has taken on different names like Hellenism and Humanism.
Since the Fall in Eden, the battle between the way of the world and God’s way has raged. It rages in every life. It rages through every generation. While we claim the truth that God’s kingdom has come and is continually advancing, the powers of the world have not given up.
As those who are called to lead, we must understand the truth about lenses. Every one of us and each of those who are entrusted to our care have the same lens. Each has the lens of the human minds-eye. Each faces the temptation to only see the world through that lens. Each of us faces the temptation to indulge in the pleasures of the images that we all see through the human lens. They are enticing and our ratings meters climb.
Putting on the spectacles of Scriptures and viewing the world as God invites us to see it lacks human appeal. The world tells us to lust, and the images suck us in, but God tell us to put those away. The world tells us to want what others have, but God tells us that envy is sin. The world tells us to seek personal power and fame, but God tells us to love justice, mercy, and humility.
Are you called to lead? Keep the spectacles on! Leaders of the next generation – give the spectacles to those entrusted to your care. Guide them to a worldview shaped through the right lens.
Devotionals are written by Jeff Blamer, Vice President of Member Services