File

File

Minister’s Message: Are we seeing flowers or weeds?

In diffiult times, we need to watch what we watch

A king called together two of his brightest subjects. He told them he wanted to catalog the flora of his kingdom. He sent one man out to observe and note every flower he could find. He sent the other out to do the same for the weeds of his country.

The first came back in two weeks.

“Oh, King!” he exclaimed. “I have barely begun my search but wanted to make a quick report before I continue. Our kingdom is filled with the most beautiful flowers I have ever seen! Indeed, I have never noticed them before. The colors! The shapes! The sheer varieties and smells! To be perfectly honest, I have been considering moving from here and now I realize I must be living in one of the most beautiful places on earth. Thank you for this job. I will leave now and continue my work.”

The second man came in shortly after the first.

“Oh, King!” he sighed. “I have barely begun my search but am ready to make my report. I confess I have never before noticed what a miserable kingdom we live in. I have barely made it out of the surrounding courtyard and have been cut and stung by numerous thorns and brambles. And the stink! This is a noxious kingdom and I have two things to report. I quit. And I’m moving.”

Some have suggested that our feelings are determined by our attitudes: whether we see the glass as half-empty or half-full. I would suggest the more important question is whether or not we even see the glass.

What we are looking at determines our attitude. To return to the story of the king, an important question is whether we are looking for the flowers or the weeds. Both are there to find.

The news will be filled on any given day by reports of good deeds and courage and victory. It will also be filled by disasters and anger and violence. Which stories will receive our focus? Which ones will linger in our hearts and minds and shape our view of our neighbors and God?

Jesus speaks in what we often call the “Sermon On The Mount” about our focus. He says, “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” — Matthew 6:22-23.

So we need to watch what we watch. We should focus on what we’re focusing on. And if our attitudes start to move toward despair and away from hope, we need to pay attention to what we’re paying attention to. There are a lot of flowers out there.

Rick Cupp is minister at Kenai Fellowship. Worship at 11 a.m. on Sundays at the building, wearing masks. Or join us on Facebook, livestreamed! Look up “Rick Cupp” and go to the page with the Kenai Fellowship sign as the backdrop picture.


• Rick Cupp, Minister, Kenai Fellowship


More in Life

Virginia Walters (Courtesy photo)
Life in the Pedestrian Lane: ‘Tis the Season

The Kenai Community Library has always been one of the stars in the crown of the community.

Homer News Ben Mitchell, left, serves spaghetti to helper Pat Wells in the kitchen at a past Share the Spirit spaghetti feed. (Michael Armstrong/Homer News file)
Looking to share some holiday spirit? Here’s how

Share the Spirit serves the Homer community by donating food, essential needs and Christmas presents.

Appease your child’s picky palate with these tasty Tater Tots. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: Tots to be thankful for

Two years ago, I spent the entirety of Thanksgiving Day in my green rocking chair, cradling my newborn son.

File
Minister’s Message: Keep in step

Sometimes it takes going half way around the world to learn how to “keep in step” as I journey.

Shelli and Mike Gordon pose in October 2011 at their Halibut Cove, Alaska, home in an Alaska Gothic version of Grant Wood’s “American Gothic” painting. (Photo courtesy of Mike Gordon)
‘Dagnabit’ features tales of ’80s wild Alaska

Gordon’s second book also tells of Ruben Gaines, creator of Chilkoot Charlie.

Before boiling, this handmade pasta is rolled, cut and tossed in flour to keep from sticking. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: Pasta by hand

Learning one of the most important task of the Italian kitchen: making the pasta.

Will Morrow (courtesy)
The Great Thanksgiving dessert debate

Our holiday gathering is going to be smaller than it sometimes is, and it was argued that we didn’t need two desserts.

Dianne Spence-Chorman’s “Fig Study” is one of the works showing in the Homer Council on the Arts “Fun wtih 5x7” show through Dec. 22, 2021, at the gallery in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
‘Fun with 5×7’ offers affordable art

HCOA annual art show presents art in a variety of media, all in 5x7 format.

Make pumpkin chocolate chip with cinnamon buttercream cupcakes for a decadent fall treat. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: In honor of ‘Cupcake Mondays’

Pumpkin chocolate chip with cinnamon buttercream cupcakes brighten up the dreariest of work.

Nick Varney
Nick Varney
Unhinged Alaska: Back off, Zeus

If this wet-n-warm, freeze, then start again, continues much longer, Kachemak Drive will need a complete redo.

The cover of Tom Kizzia’s book, “Cold Mountain Path,” published by Porphyry Press in October 2021. (Photo provided)
‘Cold Mountain Path’ explores ghost town history of McCarthy

Kizzia’s book looks at McCarthy history from 1938 to the town’s revival as a tourist destination.

Melinda Hershberger works on her installation for the Kenai Art Center’s collaborative mural project on Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Wall-to-wall creativity

Artists collaborate on a single mural at the Kenai Art Center this month.