A popular song over the last few years is titled, Hello. One repeated line of the song is, “Hello from the other side.” The singer is lamenting that she now sees things differently from “the other side” after walking away from someone who meant a lot to her at one point in time. In a sense, all humanity has been living life from the wrong side. Even as Christians, we are so used to seeing life from the wrong side that we forget we are called to “live from the other side.”
We can illustrate this by thinking of a beautiful woven tapestry that presents a magnificent landscape or intricate scene of beauty. The back of the tapestry is an incoherent mess of the woven ends hanging loose. There is no sense of what is clearly visible on the other side. Imagine if that tapestry were hung in a museum so that both sides could be viewed by walking completely around it. Now imagine that almost all the visitors to the museum are congregated around the back side of the tapestry and are trying desperately to figure out what the tapestry means. When someone mentions that the “other side” of the tapestry is what they are meant to look at, most refuse to even believe that there is another side. Some acknowledge the “other side,” but after looking at the tapestry from that side for a while, the calls from the crowd at the back side are too strong for them to resist going back to looking from there.
In Romans 12:2, Paul says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Paul is calling us to see life through minds that have been transformed and renewed by the power of the gospel. He is telling us as Christians to no longer view life (the tapestry) from the back side as the world does, but look from the “other side” and live life from the perspective of seeing God’s plan “woven” through history to form a beautiful picture of eternal love and redemption.
Since this is a stewardship article, I almost titled it “Giving from the other side,” but I used the word living, hoping you would read this far and perhaps to the end. Actually, I have come to the conclusion that, for a Christian, living means giving. I say that because the goal of Christian living is to live like Christ. If there is one word to express Christ’s life among us, it is the word “giving.” He gave himself for us so that we would be “gifts” to the world.
Looking from the back of the tapestry, most will conclude that life is meaningless so why not take as much as you can and enjoy yourself as much as possible. But for us who have been transformed by the gospel, the picture is clear: Jesus has completely rewritten the roadmap of our lives. He has called us to live as he did—giving rather than taking, praying rather than cursing, loving rather than hating, hoping rather than despairing, and trusting rather than being afraid. He has changed us so that we can see the beauty of the “other side,” his perfect, beautiful plan. Thank God for his transforming grace!
Roy Heggland is Associate for Biblical Stewardship for the Church of the Lutheran Brethren.