You see, finally and at last, it is this decision to focus our worship upon God alone which restores our perspective. Failing that, you begin to view your world through the lens of circumstance which will ultimately disappoint you.
Most of you have heard the legend of the Taj Mahal. In fact I’ve told it before. You remember, Emperor Shah Jahan’s wife died. He was devastated, so much so that he vowed to honor her memory with the construction of a temple that would be her tomb. Her coffin was placed in the center of a large piece of land and the temple began to be built around it. No expense was spared. Her final resting place would become a great wonder of the world!
But weeks turned to months and, as his grief over his wife subsided, his passion for the temple grew. Construction consumed him and one day, while walking from one side of the construction site to the other, his leg bumped against a wooden box. He brushed the dust off of his leg and ordered a worker to throw the box out. He didn’t know that he had ordered the disposal of his beloved wife’s coffin, which, now forgotten, was hidden beneath layers of dust.
Max Lucado writes of this:
The one the temple was intended to honor was forgotten, but the temple was erected anyway. Difficult to believe? Perhaps. But eerie nonetheless.Could someone build a temple and forget why? Could someone construct a palace, yet forget the king? Could someone sculpt a tribute and forget the hero?
You answer those questions. Answer them in a church. The next time you enter an assembly of worship, position yourself where you can see the people. Then decide.You can tell the ones who remember the slain one. They’re wide-eyed and expectant. They’re children watching the unwrapping of a gift. They’re servants standing still as a king passes. You don’t doze in the presence of royalty. And you don’t yawn while receiving a gift, especially when the giver is the King himself!
You can also tell the ones who see only the temple. Their eyes wander. Their feet shuffle. Their hands doodle, and their mouths open—not to sing, but to yawn. For no matter how hard they try to stay amazed, their eyes start to glaze over. All temples, even the Taj Mahal, lose their luster after a while.
The temple gazers don’t mean to be bored. They love the church. They can cite its programs and praise its pastors. They don’t mean to grow stale. They put on hats and hose and coats and ties and come every week. But still, something is missing. The One they once planned to honor hasn’t been seen in a while.
But those who have seen him can’t seem to forget him. They find him, often in spite of the temple rather than because of it. They brush the dust away and stand ever impressed before his tomb—his empty tomb.
The temple builders and the Savior seekers. You’ll find them both in the same church, on the same pew—at times, even in the same suit. One sees the structure and says, “What a great church.” The other sees the Savior and says, “What a great Christ!” Which do you see?
I can answer that question: You will see the one on which YOU DECIDE to focus. If the wrong perspective destroys joy, then the proper focus will restore your perspective, and then what will happen? * Level 3