Spiritual 20/20 Vision: ‘Always Forward’

By Al Neumann

Al Neumann speaks with one of the seniors at a non-denominational Sunday service in San Dimas.

Hello again, everyone.

You’ll have to forgive me as I adjust this lectern since I’ve had Type One diabetes for 58 years and there are now spots and gaps in my eyesight. It makes it hard for me at Marko Tools to do the fitting and drilling I used to do.

But I was supposed to die from this at age 30, so I’m really not complaining!

Being able to see is wonderful, isn’t it and I want to talk about that today – how spiritual vision focuses us on what to see, on what is really important.

So what is it that we should focus on? Paul said it in 2 Corinthians 4:6,

“For God, who said, Let light shine out of darkness, made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

One reason our senior’s church plant at San Dimas is so successful these past seven years is because we try to keep everyone focused on Jesus Christ, the true Light. One lady we love down there is 100% Catholic but she likes our evangelical services because of our focus. That is Jesus Christ.

Savvy Seniors Share Their Spiritual Focus

“My most challenging and rewarding role is in being a 24/67 caregiver for seven years for my beloved late husband. My advice is to be an aggressive, alert, advocate for the person for whom you are caring. Worship together. Celebrate every day as though it were your last. And be a gracious receiver of care when your time comes.”
— Barbara, Arizona

“My wife of 56 years, Beverly, died after she struggled for 12 years with Parkinson’s disease. I was her care partner day and night. We came to believe that Jesus was with us in all that we did. That he loved us and suffered with us – cried with us just as he did when he saw Lazarus’ sister crying. We saw that God was strengthening our love for each other, deepening our commitment. During this difficult time he made these 12 years the best years of our lives. Jesus’ love is so powerful. Death hasn’t separated us. God has given me a part of her forever.”
— Frank and Beverly, Michigan

“I went to catechism class and was confirmed. One of the reasons I stopped going was that the minister was so negative. He was always emphasizing the fact that we were sinners – even though Jesus had died on the cross to save us from sin. I never once heard the phrase ‘good news’ about the story of Jesus.

Years later I was given a New Testament and I read it from beginning to end – over and over again. I realized there isn’t anything we can do to receive the grace of God. It is strictly a gift from him. However, there is so much poverty and immorality in the world we would be remiss if we didn’t do as much as we possibly can to overcome it all.

At age 88 I am still going strong. I’m not afraid of dying. I am really looking forward to it, but I’m not in any hurry!”
— Irma, California

“I have been a widow for nine years. The Lord has made my relationships stronger. My ears have become more sensitive to his voice. My eyes may be weaker with age, but they stay more focused. My steps may be slower but he grips my hand tighter.”
— Deane, Ohio

(Quotes courtesy of The Plain Truth magazine.)

With Jesus as brother we are part of a community that cares for each other and especially a community that prays together. We tell those fine people who gather every week that if all they can do is pray for one another and for us that is perhaps the most important thing they can do for each other.

An Eternal Hope

Also, by keeping the focus on Jesus Christ we are automatically forced to keep looking forward because He is the Real One, the One who makes our future of eternal life possible. That’s why the Bible doesn’t recommend looking back too much. There is the example of Lots wife (Genesis 19:15-17) and Jesus said you can’t put your hand to the plow and look back and expect to succeed (Luke 9:62).

That’s why Saint Paul said soften that his focus was to stay connected to the future. In Philippians 3:12 he talked about looking to the Savior so that Jesus would guide him as he went forward.

Going forward is what it’s all about in the Christian life. My colleague Mr. Tellez just spoke to us about how the book of Galatians tells Christians not to look back towards the Law but to look forward by faith in Christ. Paul wanted to be connected to that future; he talked about “laying hold” on the future. That means not focusing so much on what is all around us, the seen, but focusing on what is unseen. Paul said this in 2 Corinthians 4:16-17. Let’s read this for this is very much in our minds as we work with 35 to 50 senior citizens every week in our church plant down there in San Dimas.

Here is Paul’s advice for living a successful life of faith. It’s all tied up on not being too caught up in the around, in the physical:

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal (2 Corinthians 4:16-17).

No, we have not yet apprehended all that is in these verses. We’re not “there” yet as Paul said of himself in Philippians 3:13. But we can achieve much of that by keeping our eyes on the One who is our goal, our life and our eternal future.