Summary: Under the sun we feel the heat of stress and pressure. Getting above it changes our vantage point and our perspective of life

• A lot of what we do in life is directly related to how we see ourselves, and to how we see what we do.

• If you see yourself as worth little you will hardly ever engage in something that you feel is of great value – almost as if you don’t see it as your place.

• If you place little value in what work you do you will do it half-heartedly, because small things do not stir people’s hearts.

• What I want to do today is build on the foundations of last week, when we said that if we viewed everything we did as ministry, every place we find ourselves ever day of every week as a mission field, we will lose that sense of futility about our work.

• You are a placement, not a haphazard happening.

• And it is all to do with perspective – things that are seen from ground level are very different when seen from above – London has always been a bit intimidating to me – it’s just too much, but when we took the boys up on the Eye at Christmas time, it looked like a toy town .

• Look at this verse again from last week:

Ecclesiastes 2: 18-25

• We all toil and work under the sun, and that can mean working under pressure, under stress, under worry, under the sword of Damocles that could fall at any time and we are out of work.

• Working under the sun implies working under heat, under the scorching oppression of circumstance, difficulty and hardship, but we discovered last week that a simple shift in our perception of what we do can move a lot of stress out of the way.

• Whatever you are under will determine what your pressure is, and what you are above will determine your outlook.

• Our hearts need to shift from being under the sun to being above it.

• Brian Houston puts it like this “The answer to the futility of work is the position of the sun. When you see work from a human perspective, it can seem very empty, but when you see it from heaven’s perspective, it is full of opportunity”

• We are not called to be subject to circumstances but to create circumstances, and to address circumstance, and to change circumstances.

• Your choices have created your circumstances – your parents and upbringing have played a part but ultimately as an adult you have chosen and now live the consequences of that choice

• But you can choose to be under the sun or above it looking down and seeing the bigger picture.

• Look at this story of a woman who was under the sun, but decided to rise up above it:

1 Samuel 1: 1-20

• Hannah was under pressure and her life wasn’t fun – there was too much stuff happening in her personal life to allow her any joy.

• Penninah was the sun that was beating down on her, taunting her and adding stress to her already evident medical condition.

• Yet Hannah was the favoured one – she gained the double portion because just because you are not having a good time right now it does not mean that God has forgotten you

• You will receive the blessing under the sun, you will still be in His hand, but His desire for you is that you start to rise up.

• Verse 9 says ‘Hannah stood up’ – we can stay under the circumstance or we can stand up. We can be downtrodden, discouraged, brow-beaten and exhausted by worry and anxiety or we can stand up

• Isaiah says ‘Rise, Shine for your light has come and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you’ – how will you know you can shine if you never rise?

• The sun is of no use to us until it has risen – it might be night time here, but the fact that it is daytime in Australia is of no help – we need it to rise so that it can shine and likewise Jesus, who is the Light of the world, and who lives in us, needs to shine through us and in order for that to happen we need to rise.

• The sun was of pressure was burning Hannah, and so she got above it – and where did she go? To the House of God, the ark in a flood of judgement, and there was a flood of judgement coming from Penninah against her.

• In the temple she prays, seeks God, and because she had undergone a perspective change she was able to see things a bit more clearly

• And when she sees things clearly notice her prayers are not anti-Penninah prayers, they are prayers for a change of circumstances.

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