Summary: A right attitude is providential, it is essential, and it is consequential.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

“The Right Attitude”

Text: Matthew 5: 1 - 11

The events of life move rather quickly. And it is said that your attitude determines your aptitude. In fact your attitude towards life drives your philosophical construct of life.

If you have a fatalistic attitude, then ca sera sera, what will be will be. Let’s eat drink and be merry for tomorrow we die.

If you believe that your life is in the hands of fate, then you are prone to be passive in life with the feeling that you have no control.

If you believe that your life is predestinated, then you will believe that your final destiny has been settled in advance by the absolute will of God.

Finally, one may believe that they have a moral freedom or free will, they if one acts in conformity with that moral belief then they will receive that reward of a moral conclusion.

One’s attitude in life influences the types of relationships one develops in life. The question then is how attitudes are developed. They are developed by one’s social and culture context.

Last week we discussed the factors that come to play in the resiliency of youth to overcome their cultural and social conditions. We suggested that family networks, community based schools, and faith based institutions are the supports that assists in the development of attitudes that aids youth in the ability to overcome life’s circumstances and situations.

Likewise, these same factors are necessary for us as individuals to have positive or negative attitudes reinforced or supported.

A story is told of a man who just moved to a city and was looking for a church to attend. He walked up to a person on the street and stated I’m new in town how the people in that church are. The person responded by asking him how where the people in the church he was from. The man stated they were mean spirited, cold, and deceitful. The persons said you will find the same kind of people in that church. The man walked away.

Later, another person walked up to the same person and asked him a similar question, he also being new to town and was looking for a church to attend. The person asked how where the people in the church you were from. The man responded that they where kind, inviting, and helpful. In the very same church that he had described to the other man he stated that you will find that same people there in that church: kind, inviting and helpful.

How is it that the people in the same church were described so differently? It was because people react to the attitudes one has. If you are cold, then people will respond with a chill in their air. If you are mean spirited, then people will react in a mean spirited way.

What you give is what you get.

Jesus understood these dynamics and after receiving and proclaiming his mission in ministry was to preach the gospel to the poor; to heal the brokenhearted; recovery of sight to the blind; to set at liberty them that are bruised; and to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.

From that premise he went out to call disciples to come and follow me. With a mandate so clear and a philosophy of life that had a profound moral ethic so precise; can you imagine the state or attitude his disciples brought to the table?

No different than what we would bring. Let’s look at two disciples.

Simon Peter was a bundle of confused emotions: he was brave and cowardly, wise and foolish, accepting and rejecting, a man of doubt and a man of faith. He was paradoxical. He was just like us.

On the other hand you have Andrew the first disciple called by Jesus. He was an evangelist always out spreading the good news and bringing people to Jesus. Yet on many important occasions, Andrew is left out: healing of Jairus’ daughter, the Transfiguration, and the Garden of Gethsemane.

For one to be first and faithful, he do you think he felt to be left out of these important events. His brother was there, Simon Peter, but no Andrew.

What is one’s attitude when they feel they have been left out? I believe one would feel just like we do – a sense of rejection or disappointment.

Each disciple brought there own set of attitudes, philosophies, and emotions to the feet of Jesus. All different and they all missed the point of his mission and mandate.

Therefore, after preaching his first sermon, calling the first disciples, affirming his power by healing and teaching; he takes his disciples to their first workshop and retreat.

The purpose of this first workshop and retreat was to expose to them the right attitude a follower of Jesus Christ should have.

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