Simple (Spectacular) Blessings
"Wow! I CAN SEE EVERYTHING!"
I overheard this exclamation of absolute wonder on my last flight from Florida to Indiana before moving to South Korea. Seated directly across the aisle from me had been a young, first-time flyer whose parents had given him the window seat for the duration of our journey. As I listened to this boy breathlessly recount all he was witnessing for the first time, I could not help but excitedly gaze out the window on my side of the plane too. Indeed, it felt as though we could see everything! It is a view I have taken in many times now, but it still fills me with the same sense of awe each time I see it again. From our point of view, everything looked small, our problems seemed insignificant, and life was simple.
How is it possible that our complex world can seem so small, orderly, and simple from a distance? In all actuality, however, as we soared above the earth, we could not literally see everything. No, my young friend was sadly mistaken by his simple statement—there were plenty of things we could not see from where we were sitting. Nevertheless, his words still struck something inside of me; a childlike wonder, a sense of adventure, and a desire for simplicity in a world that has nearly lost all of its clarity. Rather than seeing everything, I fear most of us walk around these days without seeing anything.
Rather than seeing everything, I fear most of us walk around these days without seeing anything.
The world today hungers for simplicity. People are looking for it—a simple statement to rally behind, something to believe in, a person to follow. We want to be told to "Just Do It," "Think Different," and we hope the next, new trend will "Open Happiness" in our hearts. The Church is not exempt from this marketing strategy known as branding—not even close. After all, "What Would Jesus Do?" He probably would not print His teachings on a t-shirt & sell it to the highest bidder.
Countless people have come before us in history who have found innumerable ways to profit from the life and teachings of Jesus, but the love of Jesus was never meant to be sold on a street corner or in a beautiful building. It was always meant to be given away freely to everyone & anyone who asked for it, yet many today are continuing to turn away from the Church—not because Jesus no longer loves them, but because the current marketing strategies being implemented in many churches are failing them. People are tired of the show, of wearing masks, and the shame that is often associated with church culture. Sure, there are plenty of people still wearing bracelets, begging the question, "What Would Jesus Do?" but the simple answer to that question is "He would love."
This last year, the timely Christian hymn "Jesus Loves Me," originally penned by Anna Bartlett Warner in the 1800s, has resurfaced in mainstream popularity through contemporary songs written by Kings Kaleidoscope and Hillsong Young & Free (these songs will be linked at the conclusion of this post). The reason why I believe the simple (spectacular) truth that "Jesus Loves Me" will never go out of style is because, truly, love will never go out of style. As our world continues to change, I believe more & more people will continue searching for simple, yet spectacular, truths like the "age-old line" that, indeed, Jesus does love us; no gimmicks, t-shirts, or bracelets required.
As our world continues to change, I believe more & more people will continue searching for simple, yet spectacular, truths such as the "age-old line" that, indeed, Jesus does love us.
I have a student in one of my English classes here in South Korea who shouts "Teacher, I love you!" so loudly whenever he sees me in the hallway. I always smile, look in his direction, and shout right back at him—"I love you too!" Having the opportunity to be a teacher has allowed for many moments like this when I can remind my students just how loved they really are in this world. In response, many of my students have found simple (spectacular) ways to show their love towards me too.
My first week at Jeonju Haesung High School, a student walked into my classroom to ask what my favorite color was—I told him it was blue & he walked out, only to return moments later with a blue balloon in hand. My second week, I returned to my podium after assisting some students with the day's activities & found a tangerine that a student had left there for me. This week, several of my students even brought me several small flowers that they had picked outside during lunch. "We thought of you, teacher." All of these simple (spectacular) blessings reminded me how love can be shown in so many beautiful ways as well.
"As I have loved you, so you must love one another" (John 13:34 NIV). Sure, Jesus loved in big ways (like laying down His life for all of us), but He also loved in simple (spectacular) ways just like my students do. He was present with the people around Him, He welcomed strangers like they were friends, He talked to people who were different than Him, and He invited countless people to share meals. These things might pale in comparison to laying down one's life for the world, but, for Jesus, I believe they were all one and the same.
When you filter your life through the lens of Jesus' love for you, it will change your point of view forever. You will no longer see just a loud student in the hallway, a blue balloon, a tangerine on a podium, or even a few small flowers—you will see everything for the very first time as a manifestation of Jesus' love for every single one of us. And with a point of view like that, everything else in your life will look small, your problems will suddenly seem insignificant, and life will be simple (spectacular) once again. Wherever in the world you find yourself today, take a moment to gaze out your window & acknowledge the beautiful blessings God has placed right in front of you.
"Wow! I CAN SEE EVERYTHING!"
James Davisson is just a small man with a big heart, serving a much bigger God.