"Are You An Optimist?
Larry R. Ping II
There is a great need for optimists in the Lord’s Church today. Optimism is defined as “hopefulness and confidence about the future or success of something.” The opposing attitude is that of pessimism, defined as “a tendency to see the worst aspect of things or believe that the worst will happen.” Over the years, I have witnessed my fair share of pessimism on the part of my brethren who have stripped away the confidence and excitement of those who are giving and doing their best. Which of the twain are you? Be an optimist like the following good people.
1. Joshua and Caleb. As the spies were giving report of the Promised Land, ten said that indeed the land was wonderful and plenteous, but “nevertheless the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled, and very great: and moreover we saw the children of Anak there” (Num. 13:28). It took the courage and optimism of Joshua and Caleb to say “let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it” (Num. 13:30). We meet problems, trials and tribulations today too, both individually and collectively, but we also can overcome. Will you be like the ten, or Joshua and Caleb?
2. David. The Israelites were falling into an attitude of cowardice and pessimism when David came and asked “who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God” (I Sam. 17:26)? Oh, that all Christians today would adopt the attitude of David and hold evildoers accountable! Later, David uttered these words to the giant: “This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcasses of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel” (I Sam. 17:46). When we have issues that seem large, do we say that we will be fine, that we will defeat temptation (I Cor. 10:13), for God is with us? Saying so, even though others around us are of the “fearful, and unbelieving” sort (Rev. 21:8)? This is the true mark of optimism.
3. Paul. The apostle had been through so much (II Cor. 11:23-28). Yet, he was able to say, write and believe that “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Php. 4:13). He also wrote “Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (II Cor. 12:9). Are you like Paul when life gets difficult and trying, and say “I can?” Most assuredly, the world (and the Lord’s Church) possesses enough who say “I can’t.” Be the one who says “I Can,” and then do it!