By Keith Johnson

Keith Johnson is a native of Pennsylvania, and is an ordained minister and a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary (2006) where he received his Theological Masters degree (Th.M). Keith pastors a church in the Villages, Florida, while his wife, Patti, serves on the Care for Pastors team. They have three grown children. When not serving, they escape to their favorite place on earth; the beach.

    Don’t Forget the Rose Colored Glasses

    Wednesday, April 17, 2024

    The Need for Rose-Colored Glasses

    It’s been over 40 years now since I first laid eyes on a 5’10”, svelte blonde beauty.

    Long story short, I married her. For sure, she has heard every “blonde joke”, but to me at that time, I thought she was kind of true to that caricature. You see, she was tirelessly optimistic, which lead me to accusing her of wearing rose-colored glasses.

    Considering myself a realist, I told myself that if she could see clearly, as I do, she would not be so positive. Now if you’re thinking I was acting like an arrogant neanderthal, you would be right.

    Thankfully through the years she has influenced me more than I influenced her. Here’s what I discovered over the years. She saw the negative, acknowledged it, and chose to focus on the positive acting with wisdom. In other words, she was lightyears ahead of me in discernment and wisdom. The benefit? While I may get stuck in a difficult situation, she moved through it with grace. So, what have I learned? And how have I applied it to ministry?

    The Benefit of Rose-Colored Glasses

    Running the risk of sounding trite, I learned to pick up my own rose-colored glasses. How do you do that? I learned from my wife, Patti three things:

    1. Assume the best in people and move on.

    It’s easy to be negative and criticize. It takes work to find the good in some people. Sometimes a lot of work. Put yourself in their shoes. Negativity and criticism do not benefit anyone—especially the person being negative. If they are toxic, turn them over to God and stop giving them space in your life.

    1. In difficult times there’s always something to give thanks for.

    We all know that we are to give thanks in all things. One benefit of practicing that is it keeps us in a positive frame of mind.

    1. Remember those things that get you up in the morning; those things that excite you.

    Simple, but not easy to carry out when things are difficult. I have found that the negative things, like dirt on the windshield of my car, precludes me from seeing clearly. Rose-colored glasses help me to be intentional about reminding myself of the eternal value of what God has called me to do.

    Rose-Colored Glasses for Ministry

    Pastoring a church is a difficult calling. The demands are high and at times the expectations are impossible. Maintaining a soft heart and developing thick skin is difficult and a requirement if we are to be effective.

    When demands, expectations and criticisms make me want to throw in the towel, I realize it’s time to put on the rose-colored glasses. I do that by remembering those things that I love about ministry and the reasons I became a pastor. In other words, those things that still get me up in the morning. Here’s my list not in any particular order.

    1. Communicating God’s truth. Whether preaching to the congregation or teaching a class, I love communicating God’s truth. It is most rewarding when we see God’s Word penetrate and transform lives. After all God’s Word says, For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart (Hebrews 4:12 NIV).I have witnessed God’s Word release people who for years had been held in the jaws of legalism. I have seen people released from years of guilt, sin and shame through the gospel of Jesus Christ.
    2. Encouraging and comforting others. Whether it is in the hallways of the church, at the hospital or the funeral home, I have the privilege to come alongside hurting people in their time of need. It’s the privilege and expectation that a shepherd enters into these intimate times of life. Yesterday I had the privilege of spending an afternoon with my friend as he spent the last few precious hours with his wife of seventy-one years. It was my privilege to walk them through the final stages of life. Both of them are believers and so I could encourage them that this is not goodbye, it is so long for now. And to remind her that she is not going to die, but as her feeble body gives way, her spirit immediately goes to be with Jesus for eternity as God’s Word promises, away from the body and at home with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8 NIV).
    3. Varied schedule. I never fully know what to expect each day. I like that. It never gets boring.
    4. The demands of ministry keep me dependent on the Lord. I don’t like to admit it, but the demands of ministry remind me constantly that I am incapable of pulling it off on my own. It keeps me humble. For that I am very thankful. I am reminded of the lyric, “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love” and I realize that could be me.
    5. Eternal significance. In those down times when all seems to be for naught this is one truth that keeps me going. In difficult times, I remind myself that what I do matters for eternity. For example, when the Lord uses me to lead someone to Christ, that is unchangeable and it lasts forever. No other career offers that benefit. A gifted entrepreneur can build a multi-million-dollar corporation. But it can still be bankrupted and dissolved. A builder can build beautiful buildings, but they can be torn down. Nothing is permanent. Except when someone comes to Christ—that’s eternal. That’s significance. The world may not value what I do, but Jesus sees and He will reward.

    So, when demands and expectations rise, when the negative Nancies, critical Karens, and arrogant Allens surround me causing me to question my call to ministry, I remember to put on my rose-colored glasses. It is then I remember the eternal value of ministry, why I do it and what I love about it.

    Let me ask you to put on your own pair of rose-colored glasses and write down your list of things that you absolutely love about ministry. I assure you; you won’t regret it.

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