A Matter Of Perspective


Humility Can Change Our Ability To See Hope.

by Eric Elkin

The rich and the poor have this in common: the Lord is the maker of them all.
— Proverbs 22: 2

A relative gave Peggy and me two tickets to the third Minnesota Viking preseason football game. It was our first trip into the new U.S. Bank Stadium, site of last season’s Super Bowl. Think about this statement for a moment. What does it imply? 


Are we thankful for having received a gift? Is it a statement of humility, as in, we don’t spend our money frivolously on football games? Or, am I suggesting some level of poverty, as though we are poor because we couldn’t afford Super Bowl tickets? Our level of wealth requires us to settle for free tickets to a preseason football game. 


Depending on the day and the circumstances, I can hear myself suggesting any one of those scenarios as truth. My perspective determines my feelings. My surroundings will decide this perspective. When I am with people of greater means, it is easy to play the poverty card. When the crowd changes to less fortunate people, I am humbled by my wealth.


U.S. Bank Stadium offers a unique perspective. It is a far cry from old Met Stadium in Bloomington. Modern commuter trains replaced the dirt parking lot. Met Stadium was depressing to look at, even in its first season. Nothing compares to the steel and glass wonder of U.S. Bank Stadium. How did anyone ever endure those old wooden seats?



I wonder how many people I’ve looked at all my life and never seen.
— John Steinbeck

The following week, in the very same location, my perspective was changed entirely. Captivated by the bright lights of the stadium, I never noticed the building next door to the stadium was Hennepin County Medical Center. This large hospital serves a wide variety of people.


On Saturday, I was called to the hospital to grieve and minister to a wounded family. Until I parked my car and walked into the hospital, I never realized how close it was to the stadium. 


Walking through the Surgical Intensive Care Unit, I witnessed a different crowd. The crowd gathered there were not separated by wealth, but by health. Healthy family members gathered around their wounded loved ones in need of medical care. The SICU was void of loud cheers and laughter. Only tears and words of comfort.


Sickness is an indiscriminate force which equalizes both the rich and the poor. It does not care about your income or accomplishments. When it strikes us, we are reminded of our vulnerability to forces which we cannot control. Yet, even sickness is shaped by perspective. The humbled can find hope when they consider these words of wisdom from Proverbs. The rich and the poor have this in common: the Lord is the maker of them all.

Click to read Proverbs 22: 1-2;8-9, 22-23

Reflection Questions:

  • Who or what influences your perspective the most?
  • When was a time you were humbled?
  • How did it change your perspective?
  • Where do you find expressions of hope?

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