6-Week Series: Against All Odds


Summary: When the problems of life get us down, we need to fix our focus.

A little boy was sitting on a street corner trying to sell his little pup (maybe I’ve told you this before).

A salesman passed the corner each day, and after a week he began to pity the boy who was striving to sell his puppy. The salesman knew the boy didn’t See It Big. He stopped and said, "Son, do you really want to sell this dog?"

The boy replied, "I certainly do."

"Well you’re never going to sell him until you learn to See It Big. What I mean is, take this dog home, clean him up, doll him up, raise your price, make people think they’re getting something big, and you’ll sell him."

That noon the salesman came by and there was the boy with a puppy that was groomed, perfumed, and beribboned alongside a big sign:

TREEMENNDOUS Puppy For Sale--$5,000.

The salesman gulped and realized he had forgotten to tell the boy about Keeping It Simple. That evening he stopped by to tell the boy the other half of the formula, only to discover that the boy was gone, the puppy was gone and the sign lay there with "SOLD" written across it in big letters.

The salesman couldn’t believe it. This kid couldn’t have sold the dog for $5,000. His curiosity got the best of him and he rang the boy’s doorbell. The boy came to the door and the salesman blurted, "Son you didn’t really sell that dog for $5,000 now, did you?"

The boy replied, "Yes, sir, I did and I want to thank you for all your help."

The salesman said, "How in the world did you do it?"

The boy replied, "Oh, it was easy. I just took two $2,500 cats in exchange!"

I’m convinced that we are the creators of many of our own problems in this life. You see, the problem comes when we do not focus on the right things. That boy was looking to sell his puppy, but he was approaching it from the wrong perspective. As soon as he made the dog more attractive, that helped him “sell” the puppy.

Think of it this way. If you go shopping for a car, and you see an old, beat-up Yugo with 300,000 miles on it, would you take that car? Of course not! We tend to look at things that way—what we can see, feel, touch, smell, taste. Those are what we give the most importance in our decision making.

So why does it surprise us when our vision constantly trips us up? We tend to take a look around and focus on the wrong things, and as we do so, that tends to bring us down. We start to develop our own little pity party—why aren’t things going my why? Why does so and so get everything they want? Why do bad, sinful people get to do so much, and here I am stuck with nothing? Why do I never get the breaks in life? Why is it that bad things always come into my life?

The problem is that we often look at things with earthly eyes, rather than heavenly eyes. We tend to look at things through our own glasses, than with glasses equipped with faith.

2 Corinthians 5:7

We live by faith, not by sight.

The writer of Hebrews speaks of how God responds to those who walk by faith, and not by sight—Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God.

So what do we do when we start to look our focus, when we start to gain the world’s perspective? Let’s look at Psalm 73 and see for ourselves how we should respond.

Asaph wrote this Psalm—he was a Levite in charge of one of the temple choirs. And he begins with a statement of fact--Surely God is good to Israel,

to those who are pure in heart.

And you know what—we would agree with that statement, most of the time. However, there are times like what we see in verses 2 and 3, where it says:

2 But as for me, my feet had almost slipped;

I had nearly lost my foothold.

3 For I envied the arrogant

when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

You see, Asaph started to take a look around and see what others were doing, how evil men were prospering. And he starts to focus on three things—three earthly things—three temporal things—that start to bring him down.

He focuses on their prosperity, and their pride.

4 They have no struggles;

their bodies are healthy and strong. [1]

5 They are free from the burdens common to man;

they are not plagued by human ills. (PROSPERITY)

6 Therefore pride is their necklace;

they clothe themselves with violence.

7 From their callous hearts comes iniquity [2] ;

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