A Spider And A Sermon

August 21, 2016
by Diane Eaton

2 Corinthians 4:17a – For our present troubles are small and won't last very long. (NLT)

It kept returning — that pesky little spider! The creature was free to explore the wide world of nature during the outdoor worship service. Yet it preferred my notes — the very spot from where I was preaching. Finally, after several failed attempts to flick it away, I surrendered my territorial battle with this unwanted guest. I let it stay, and within moments, it disappeared.

But not really! Spiders are not easily flicked from one's mind. They linger. I could not resist announcing its persistent presence to my listeners. And then, alas, it was on their minds, too — perhaps overshadowing the very message that I had just shared. I fear that some may have remembered only the spider!

How can tiny things eclipse far grander things? How can the moon eclipse the sun with the sun's radically vaster size? How can any of our concerns become more significant than God's infinite goodness and power? And yet it happens.

It's all about perspective, how we position ourselves in the scheme of things. The closer that we position ourselves to our troubles, the bigger they appear. The further that we position ourselves from God, the smaller He appears. That gives us a terribly distorted perspective, which hampers our ability to think logically. We'll turn every spidery intrusion into a main event. We'll waste time and energy flicking away at it, and in the process, we'll get entangled in the spidery webs that we create. We risk losing sight of God entirely. His grand promises will become faded and hazy in our minds.

The apostle Paul had an accurate perspective. His "small" problems were "in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger" (2 Corinthians 6:4b-5 NIV). For Paul, these were small compared with the grander thing: "God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ" (2 Corinthians 5:19 NIV). That was the main event; not the troubles! It was "the time of God's favor"! (2 Corinthians 6:2 NIV) From this vantage point, Paul could say:

2 Corinthians 4:17 – For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. (NIV)

Life's trials can help us to acquire that perspective. We may even now be tested by a pesky "thing" which persists while we try to flick it away. Perhaps it's an annoying person, a false accusation, a bad habit, or a controversy. Do we dwell on these "light and momentary troubles", making them the entire focus of our thoughts, conversations, and prayers? God may be saying, Can you leave this "thing" on your "page" and dwell on My grand message and purposes? If so, you'll gain the perspective of your heavenly Father, Who desires, above all, that His name be hallowed and honoured, and His will be achieved through your "light and momentary troubles". "Thy will be done!" we pray.

It surprised me how quickly the pesky spider disappeared after I stopped dealing with it. A troubling issue can do that, too. It goes away eventually if we leave it alone, in God's hands. At least it won't be such a big deal to us, and we'll be better equipped to handle it. We'll see that God is far greater than the issue, reasoning that "Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear." (Isaiah 59:1 NIV)

Prayer: Lord, we confess our tendency to be problem-focused rather than Christ-focused. Help us to gain a more truthful perspective of everything, that we may live wisely, undeterred by every light and momentary trouble that lands in front of us. Amen.

About the author:

Diane Eaton <d.eaton@bmts.com>
Paisley, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Focus on God.


    May it be so Diane.


    Well spoken, well said!


    Such a lovely perspective – beautifully articulated.


    Thank you very kindly for helping me to focus my perspective to become more Christ focused. I am still waiting patiently for His answer. In God’s good time, His blessing will come. May all glory be to Him.


    Diane – Thank you for this insightful devotional. How true — we waste so much precious time worrying about things that in the scheme of things are but a trifle.
    God bless.


    Well said, Diane.. It is so easy to “get our panties in a wad’ (a favorite saying of our daughters) and get separated from God and his blessings.
    (Texas)


    Thank you so much for your message today. Something so small happened yesterday (my spider) and it put me in such a negative state for 24 hours. I read all my devotionals when I get up. I asked God for a word today to help me and yours was the first one.
    God is so great. I now have my grateful perspective back and I will have a great day. Thank you again. My spider is gone.


    Diane, you must have been sitting next to me in our outdoor worship service. An amber colored spider scurried back and forth among us seeking a shady place where it wouldn’t be tread upon. What a distraction! Especially since I don’t like spiders. At. All. Once I refocused on the service, the spider seemed to disappear. Perhaps it found that shady, safe place it sought. I know I did … in the minister’s excellent sermon. Talk about a God-incidence. Thanks for sharing this devotional. Blessings.


    Hi Diane,
    This is an amazing “non-coincidence”.
    God’s timing, as always, is perfect. The very experience I had this morning as I was trying to FOCUS on what the Lord was trying to teach me, shows me He really wanted me to pay attention, and He underlined it with your Spider story.
    As I tried to read my Bible and meditate on the words, an annoying fly kept bothering me.
    I immediately lost my concentration and went in search of a fly swatter.
    I kept watching for it to light on a suitable object which would allow me to swat it, but all this succeeded in doing was keeping me totally distracted from my time with the Lord.
    Did I catch it? No. Did I get anything out of my devotional time? No.
    I settled down to read your devotional.
    With apologize to God, I will go back and really listen for His whispers of Love and instruction for this day.
    As the fly, it’s back and I can’t find my fly swatter. But I do have a handy newspaper.


    Diane, thank you for your pictorial reminder to focus on God’s infinite goodness and power and not on the distracting “spiders” of our lives.


    What a true message – your comparison of the spider to all of life’s little annoyances that pull our focus away from our Father – was so apt. Thank you for writing. May God richly bless you.


    Dear Diane,
    Thank you for a great sermonette!
    I wonder if often we need to learn also to put something troubling onto God’s “page” and leave it there for him to deal with?
    Keep writing, for Jesus’ sake.


    Thanks sincerely for that thought-provoking reflection. I have been blessed so much.
    (Ghana)

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