When a sunset is not a sunset

Most of the time when I think of sunsets, its when I am looking at them; but this picture shows a different perspective. In this picture, the sunset is emphasized by its reflection from a distant mountain peak and the coming darkness is in the forefront. The light that is nearby enhances the memory and not the vision. Paul must have felt something like that when he wrote his final letter to his protege Timothy.

2 Timothy 4:1-8 WEB (R)
(1) I command you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at his appearing and his Kingdom:
(2) preach the word; be urgent in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with all patience and teaching.
(3) For the time will come when they will not listen to the sound doctrine, but, having itching ears, will heap up for themselves teachers after their own lusts;
(4) and will turn away their ears from the truth, and turn aside to fables.
(5) But you be sober in all things, suffer hardship, do the work of an evangelist, and fulfill your ministry.
(6) For I am already being offered, and the time of my departure has come.
(7) I have fought the good fight. I have finished the course. I have kept the faith.
(8) From now on, there is stored up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give to me on that day; and not to me only, but also to all those who have loved his appearing.

Paul left behind encouraging words to timothy to continue in his work because he knew he didn't have much time left in this world. The apostle wasn't looking forward to darkness but rather a revelation of reward for his love and faithfulness to God. And the sunset he saw may have been a sunset, but to him it was a type of SUNRISE, because the blessing of God's gift of righteousness was about to be revealed to him IN-PERSON. When a sunset is a prelude to heaven it becomes something more than a sunset; it is a gateway to the very presence of God himself. And that would make even this marvelous picture pale in comparison.

Through another's eyes

This picture reminded me of a preview I saw yesterday. "Avatar" is its name and it is a story of confrontation between Earth and the people of a fictional world called Pandora. The inhabitants are blue skinned and very majestic like the Elf's in the Tolkien trilogy. A handicapped soldier Earth soldier is given a chance to serve his world by using an Avatar to blend in with the Pandorian population and bring about a victory for Earth. Through his Avatar he sees more than he bargained for, once he really begins to look. And so, this passage from the Gospel of Matthew came to mind.

Matthew 13:14-17 WEB (R)
(14) In them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says, 'By hearing you will hear, and will in no way understand; Seeing you will see, and will in no way perceive:
(15) for this people's heart has grown callous, their ears are dull of hearing, they have closed their eyes; or else perhaps they might perceive with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their heart, and should turn again; and I would heal them.'
(16) "But blessed are your eyes, for they see; and your ears, for they hear.
(17) For most certainly I tell you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see the things which you see, and didn't see them; and to hear the things which you hear, and didn't hear them.

Why didn't everyone "get it" when Jesus taught? Because they weren't willing to allow themselves to see life though other eyes is my answer. Human beings often think about things and once they arrive at a conclusion, that's it; case closed. I feel sorry for people who live life this way, because others can teach you a lot. Back in the very early 70's (yes, I know.. I am old) I was a quality control supervisor for Norton company. I oversaw the quality of the cloth finishing department and this was a big job for my years. One night a helper on one of the giant machines walked over and said to me something like this. Gary, you have a big job and you are important, but any night of the week I can make your job terrible by just deliberately not doing something right. I never forgot that because it helped me look at myself through another's eyes and I grew just a little that night. When we stretch our understanding like that God has a way of changing us and somehow we see with new eyes, hear with new ears and our thinking is never quite the same again. By the way, the movie debuts the week of December 14 and I can't wait to SEE IT!!