Facts of the Matter

A weekly letter of encouragement and challenge to business and professional men and women
Wednesday, April 24, 2002
Dear Colleagues,


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The story is told of two psychologists who sought to determine whether heredity or environment decided a childs mental outlook. So they placed a pessimistic child in a lovely room chucked full with beautiful toys, and an optimistic child in a room filled with horse manure. Hours later the pessimistic kid was found in the corner, pouting. Why arent you playing with your toys, the psychologists inquired? Cause — soon as I do, someone will come and take them away from me! By contrast, they discovered the optimistic child enthusiastically swimming and diving through the manure. His reason? Man! With all this manure, theres gotta be a pony in here somewhere!

Naturally, we are more drawn to the optimist! Here are a few reasons why:


Optimists see faith in God as their only way to ultimate fulfillment: Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Psa. 37:4) (See Josh. 1:5-9; Psa. 33:11; 40:5)


Optimists have great love for others, starting with family and close friends: We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to usWe were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little childrenYou know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God (I Thess. 2:8a,7,11,12a) (See 1 Cor. 13; 16:14)


Optimists are cheerful, always seeking a favorable twist to the world around them: Do everything without complaining or arguing so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe (Phil.2:14,15)


Optimists love what they do, and they put all their heart into it: Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men. (Col. 3:23) (See 2 Chron. 31:21; Ecc. 9:10)


Optimists learn to forgive, thus minimizing the paralyzing emotions of anger, hate and selfishness: Peter came to Jesus and asked, Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times? Jesus answered, I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times (Matt. 18:21a,22) (See Gen. 32:1-33:17; Pro. 19:11; Matt. 6:11,14; 11:25; Eph. 4:31,32)


Optimists have can-do attitudes. They refuse to let unfavorable odds get them down: I can do everything through him who gives me strength. (Phil. 4:13) (1 Sam. 23:1-5; Psa. 18:29; 2 Cor. 3:4)


Optimists are not born. They are molded by their own attitudes: Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. (Phil. 4:8) (See Rom. 12:1,2; Col. 3:1-3)

Thomas Carlyle once wrote that the block of granite which was an obstacle in the path of the weak, becomes a steppingstone in the path of the strong. Today, by His strength lets choose to turn our obstacles into steppingstones! After all, isnt our future as bright as the promises of God? (Josh. 21:45)


+ Seed thoughts from Finishing Strong, by Richard G. Capen, Jr., pages 130,131, Zondervan Press

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