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October 5, 1994

The Big Picture

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Praise the LORD, all you nations; extol him, all you peoples. PSALM 117:1
Out of the shortest psalm in the Psalter—the shortest chapter in the Bible—comes a foreshadowing of hope for the Gentiles and for all nations. Paul recognizes this in his letter to the Romans and quotes this tiny chapter as evidence of salvation come to us all (Romans 15:11).
The scandal of the inclusion of Gentiles in Christ’s salvation is lost on us today because of elapsed time and cultural ignorance. But it ushered the entire world into a new era. Its force divided human history in two. It shifted the balance of power. It changed all of life. This small idea sparked a revolution, a revelation.
Big ideas sometimes hide in small packages. There are enormous blessings in unsuspecting places. And we miss them because we look for the wrong things in the wrong places. We look at people and size them up based on appearance and presentation—”He looks like a leader.” We size up opportunities based on what we will get out of them—”I should take that assignment; it will give me the ‘stripe’ I need.” All the while, we miss great people and incredible opportunities. We miss them because we are looking and not listening.
A picture may be worth a thousand words, but appearances can be deceptive. Things are not always what they seem. Just go to church any Sunday morning—everyone looks great, but nobody knows what’s really bubbling just beneath the surface.
Our words betray what is really going on inside. Unless a person is a pathological liar, it is hard not to hear the hurts, needs, dreams, and desires in his or her voice. But we only hear if we are listening to others and to the Holy Spirit. If we fail to listen to Him, we will miss the big opportunities hiding in tiny places.

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