I had forgotten until I went to bed last night that the school’s Christmas break began today. That meant that I didn’t need to set the alarm and wake up early, I just needed to get to work in time to do the cleaning and prep before the start of the preschool Christmas program this morning. So page 358 began at a time that not too long ago I would have thought was early, but allowed me to sleep in some. I did the cleaning and building prep and then served as photographer as the preschoolers had their Christmas program. Once the program was over, I spent some time with the text for Sunday’s sermon. As I worked on the sermon and spent time praying about the refining of it, another short poem showed up in my mind. After typing it out on a photo background I went back to the sermon focus.
With the school out on Christmas break and the preschool finishing up this morning, I spent the afternoon doing what is usually my Friday night cleaning to get the building ready for Sunday. With an empty building, the afternoon ended up being some great prayer and reflection time as I worked. With the building cleaned and ready for the weekend, I headed home with another short poem forming in my mind. It seemed like a silly little rhyme about an elephant and a mouse that showed up in my house. After it was written and posted as a photo on my Facebook page, I began to think about the symbolism of an elephant in the room. Many times people get away with doing things that are questionable, or even unethical, because the actions become that proverbial elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about. Sometimes things become so large that they seem to dictate everything that goes on around them as any other viewpoint is made to seem small. I think of the elephant in the room when the 12 spies sent out from the Israelite people came back to report what they had found in the promised land. The elephant was the majority report that made everyone agree that they were small compared to what they would be up against if they moved forward. Everyone that is, except Joshua and Caleb who gave an honest report based on a combination of what they had seen and the promises of God. Yet we know the story. The elephant was too large. The truth seemed so small. The majority won . . . at least they thought so until God had the last word. As it turned out, Joshua and Caleb were the only two out of all the adults living at the time who would eventually be able to settle in the promised land — the rest, all the majority, were buried in the desert over the next 40 years, as was their elephant. Sometimes all the mouse can do is to remain faithful and let God take care of the elephant.
Often times it is our pride that grows into elephant size proportions in our life. One of the reasons I like photographing outdoor scenes is because of the vastness of creation. When pride begins to make me feel larger than what I really am, spending time surrounded by the beauty of nature can serve as a reminder of a need to see myself as God sees me. Today’s photo is one of those where the beauty stretches out as far as the eye can see. The humility part is a recognition that my part in the kingdom of God is important, but it is not the most important, it’s simply my part.
I pray that you and I would be aware of our own attitudes when it comes to how we present ourselves to others. I pray that we would not make our ideas and projects into the elephants that push others aside. I pray that we would humble ourselves — not just before God, but before one another as well. I pray that we would see ourselves as God sees us — not larger than everyone else, but not smaller than them either.