The Eternal Optimist

Read: Joshua 1:1-11

Thankfully my wife often reminds me about being optimistic instead of pessimistic. Sometimes I am but many times I could and should be much more optimistic than I am. This past week I saw PGA golfer Matt Kucher being interviewed and a reporter asked him why he thinks all of the other PGA golfers have such good things to say about him. In his humble manner he said that perhaps its due to his approach of always trying to see the best in things, in situations, and in people. He enjoys life and always tries to be optimistic about the future and what lies ahead.

In the first chapter of Joshua there are many things to stress Joshua out. Moses has just died and the leadership role is now falling into the hands of his assistant Joshua right as the Israelites are about to enter the promised land with many of their enemies awaiting them. Not only could he have been stressed out, he could have been very pessimistic about what was lying ahead of them. But in steps the Lord with wonderful words of promise. Words that give hope, trust, and the future new life.

Verse 5 says, “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous….” What a great encouraging promise! The Urban Dictionary online defines an eternal optimist as “A person who never ceases to give up hope in something they believe.” If Joshua believes in what the Lord is telling him he can move forward with an attitude of trust no matter what his or their current situation might suggest.

As Christians and followers of Jesus we should be optimists eternally. In other words, we have been promised by Christ too that he will never leave us or forsake us. Are we looking to those words of promise or are we taking worldly suggestions that are more pessimistic? (I am asking myself that question as well as I write). In our experiences in life do we see the potential treasure that lies ahead or do we focus on the rubbish that might currently surround us?

Bob Weniger tells the story of a man who was a trash collector in Massachusetts some years ago. In a garbage container one day, he noticed a Wendy’s soft drink cup bearing a contest sticker. Having won a chicken sandwich the week before, the man checked it, hoping for some free french fries or a soft drink. Instead, he peeled a sticker that was worth $200,000 toward the construction of a new home. Mr Weniger shared the story to point out that what we get out of life depends a lot on what we look for.

Are we looking for or keeping our eyes on the hope that Christ promises to us? We can choose to be pessimistic about our current situation or the future, but as Christians we have many more reasons to be optimistic. In fact, we can move from optimism to trust when we recall the promise that God made to Joshua and continues to make to those who follow him today. “I will never leave you nor forsake you!”

Make it personal: Almost all of us like to be liked by other people. The interview with golfer Matt Kucher should remind us that people like to be around those who enjoy life, have hope, and stay focused on the good in people and things instead of the bad. That’s probably a good reminder for all of us this week! Stay positive, trust in the Lord, and be eternally optimistic about what lies ahead.

Have a great week, Glen Rhodes, Arthur Mennonite Church