“WISDOM OF LIVING (38) BLACK DOTS” By Pastor YAU
Text: Psalm 68:19
1) A story: A pastor was talking to a men’s class, he took a sheet of plain paper and made a black dot in the center of it. Then he held the paper up and asked the group what they saw. One man replied, “I see a black mark.” “Right,” the pastor said. “What else?” All were silent. “I am surprised,” said the pastor. “You all have completely overlooked the most important thing in this—the sheet of paper.”
2) A lesson: We are often distracted by small black dots in our lives—little things that are not as good as we want them to, set backs, failures, etc. and we are prone to forget the many blessings the Lord has sent our way everyday. Like the sheet of paper, the good things are far more and better than that little black dot.
WHAT DO BLACK DOTS DO IN OUR LIVES? Even though black dots are small, they play an important role in our lives and often times they catch most or all of our attention.
1) Black dots are part of real life: No matter how hard you try or how good you want to be, there will be black dots happen in your journey of life. They will come to you without your invitation. Things that are not perfect, people who are not perfect, results that are not as you want them to will come your way. This is never a perfect place to live.
2) Black dots spoil our otherwise “perfect” life: Even though we all know that there is no such thing as a perfect life but we are looking for that perfect life everyday. And whenever a dot comes our way, it spoils the whole picture of our lives and we can’t stand it. We will try all we can to get rid of it.
3) Black dots get all our attention: Most of us will get distracted by the black dots in life to the point that we forget there are so much to live for. We will focus so much on the irritation created by the little dot or dots that we are paralyzed or blinded from seeing the good side of life. Many people can’t get over the irritations and setbacks and have lost so much fun and joy in their lives.
4) Black dots will never leave: This is a real problem for many: they try to get rid of the irritating things in their lives but just can’t get rid of them all. Just as the floaters in many aging eyes, black dots are going to stay and we just have to live with them you like it or not. As Paul prayed many times asking God to remove the thorns in his flesh and God didn’t do it, we have to accept the fact that dots are going to be there all the times.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE BLACK DOTS? There are many kinds of black dots in life. We need to have correct perspectives in dealing with them.
1) Black dots in the blessings of God: Just as the men in the class missed to see the much larger piece of paper but saw only the black dot, small unhappy experience in life may blind us from focusing on the blessing God provides us each day. If you can just sit down with a quiet heart, write down all the good things God has given you on one side of a piece of paper, and then list all the black dots you may think you have on the other side, almost without exception, you will see many more blessings in you life than the set backs, irritations or failures.
2) Black dots are short comings in others: Many of us are irritated by words, actions, decisions or attitude of others that we begin to cut down or even eradicate the true value of them. Instead of seeing the whole person and the good side of them, we tend to blanket them with bad impression and negative words and attitude against them. Some even go all the way to draw some psychological or emotional circles to exclude them out. This will greatly damage or hinder our relationship with others
3) Black dots in our own lives: Some may use the saying “nobody is perfect” as excuse for their failures and continue to live their lives that way, we all know we do fail one time or another. To stay in the mood of failure and mourn about them gets us no where except continue to fail. Recognizing our failure and try to find a way back is a better way to life. Just as in the prodigal son story, we are to take responsibility on our failures and take appropriate steps to come back. Few people, if any, live a failure proof life. Even the most respect people in the Bible had their fair share of failures. Get out of that mood and keep going. God always gives us a second chance.
4) Black dots in this world: There are two ways to look at this world in which we live: optimistic and pessimistic. Regardless of which way you choose to look, one thing that will never change is: there are things you don’t like to see. We call them black dots. There are many imperfections as well as out right injustice and even cruelty. Many things happening around us are so bad, evil is so real, some people are so rotten, things are so wrong and there is nothing anyone can do to correct them. There are people who believe if they change a new job, a new girl friend, a new spouse or a new church, things will become better. They forgot that black dots are everywhere in everyone. Once you get to know the place or that person enough, you know all are the same.
STEPS TO OVERCOME BLACK DOTS: (Psalm 68:19) King David was one of those great men in the Bible who had their fair share of black dots in their lives. He lived with many setbacks and failures and had found a better way to live with them:
1) Drawing comfort from God: (v.19a) With all the black dots in his life, David placed his confidence and hope in the all loving and powerful God. He began his call with praise to his Lord and Savior. Instead of feeling low and giving up, David credited God as his Lord, the one who controls his life, and his Savior the one who will save him from more failures. His up beat attitude of giving praises is the beginning of his victory over failures. Rely on God instead of yourself is the beginning of your coming back and getting up.
2) Drawing strength from Him: Bearing the burdens of life is never an easy task for us. Often times, we are overwhelmed by all the burdens that come our way. Burdens of responsibilities, burdens of sin and burdens of human inadequacy are just a few to name. Each one of us has our own burdens and at times, we find them too much to hear. David found his Lord as the one who bore all kinds of his burdens. The Lord is strong enough to bear all our burdens.
3) Walk through life with God each day: This is an important point to address: we need Him everyday. God never gives us a large deposit in the Bank of Heaven so we may draw little at a time for our needs. He wants to walk with us each and everyday to see and meet our needs on the way of life. The word “daily” or “each day” is so comforting. This word, daily, also calls for our close walk with the Lord. No one can live his life his way or away from God and then cries to God for help in time of trouble expecting God to be his rescue. We all know that God has His expectation on us as well.
4) Burdens turned to benefits: The KJV translated this sentence as “the Lord loadeth us with benefits.” God does more than just bears our burdens in a passive way as in NIV, He pours out, heaps up His many benefits daily on those who walks closely with Him.
CONCLUSION: Someone once said something like this: “As you travel down life’s pathway, may this ever be your goal: Keep your eyes on the donut, and not on the hole.”
1) Life is never all rosy: Everybody accepts the fact that life is never all rosy. There will be rosy time and there will be times with black dots. Look at life as a whole picture instead of focusing only on the dots. You are not going to completely eradicate them, so, take them along and enjoy the good side of life.
2) Keep yourself close to God: Don’t walk down the path of life alone. Keep close with God. He is always there to support, to strengthen and to rescue you in time of storm. It is your daily walk with Him that will guarantee His presence and blessing.
3) Black dots you need to erase: Sin comes to our lives as black dots. They begin as small dots but soon they will grow bigger and more serious if we do not confess to God and ask for forgiveness. No one is going to heaven with black dots or sins. Jesus has provided a way to get rid of them. All you need to do is accept Him as Lord and Savior, confess your sins, ask for forgiveness and He will wash them away and make you as white as snow. (I John 1:9)