One day a college professor once gave the students in his class a pop quiz. He laid a single sheet of 8 1/2 by 11 inch paper on each student’s desk. The paper was face-down. He then instructed the students to turn the paper over. On the sheet of paper was a small, black dot. The students were instructed to “write about what you see there.” The students were initially confused but they finished the assignment and the papers were turned in.

After the papers were all collected, the instructor read to the class what each student had written. All of the students wrote about the black dot; but not a single student wrote a word about all the white space that surrounded the dot. (Story found online by the title: “The Black Dot.)

I share this story to make this point. All of us live in the “white” space that God has given to us. It is our gift as a created child of God. We stand in the center of our world, just like the small, black dot, focusing on the small space we occupy. Few of us look beyond that small, tiny space. Many of us do not see the larger world around us. It is more comfortable to see only that small space in which we live.

Once in a while, something happens in that larger, white space and we have to look beyond, to change our focus. Perhaps a bombing in England or France draws our attention. Perhaps an event in a major city in the United States asserts itself. Maybe something happens to a family member who does not live close to us. We may even encounter someone of another race or religion who, for a time, captures our attention. Whatever the event, we are forced for just a short time to see beyond the black dotted space we occupy.

When we look beyond that tiny space we occupy, we may see the health needs of another person, the lack of money of a friend, or even relationship difficulties with another. The dark spot is very small when we compare it with all the white space around us. Like the students, our focus is typically on the black dot, not on the white space around it.

God’s world is vast. And it has been given to us as a blessing from a Creator who loves us, no matter who we are and what we are. Let us thank God for the wonderful world that we have been given.

If your church is interested in submitting to the weekly Clergy View column, contact Clint Walker at CWalker@jg-tc.com

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