What Manner of Man
(A weekly program for knowing and following Jesus Christ)
By Richard M. Eyre
WEEK 7: OPTIMISM AND POSITIVE ATTITUDE
In the Savior’s teachings, the wheat prevailed against the tares, the tiny mustard seed grew, the yeast swelled the whole loaf, and optimism abounded (Matthew 13:24-33).
The Savior never doubted his purpose. The possibility of failure never crossed his mind, despite odds that, to mortal eyes, seemed overwhelming.
In the Savior’s gospel, all things are stated in the positive: what to do instead of what not to do, with the overriding positive promise that the sure way of avoiding evil is to be doing good. The gospel is the most positive philosophy of all time, and its author was (and is) the most positive being of all time.
His optimism never failed. In his parables we find that the good always wins; in his stores we find the epitome of “the happy ending;” in his life we find a sureness of purpose and an assurance of ultimate success (even at moments so dark that his chosen twelve had fled his side).
Who but this world’s most positive and optimistic being could love nature as he did? Who but the world’s most positive person would love children as he did (Mark 10:16)? Who but this kind of an optimist would want his disciples (even as he awaited his crucifixion) to have joy (John 15:11), and who would teach them so well that those disciples never forgot? Even after his death, his disciples took food with gladness (Acts 2:46); rejoiced when they suffered shame for his name (Acts 5:41); sang and rejoiced in the jails of Rome (Philippians 4:4, Acts 16:25); and taught that the fruits of the spirit were love, joy, and peace (Galatians 5:22). When Paul dreamed of the departed Master, he dreamed of him saying to the disciples, “Be of good cheer” (Acts 23:11).
He was the Bridegroom, the bringer of joy, the one who told us to rejoice in the day of persecution for his sake, to leap for joy (Luke 6:23); to look happy even when we are fasting (Matthew 6:16-18); and to be exceedingly glad (Matthew 5:12; also see Job 38:7; Psalm 30:5; Isaiah 35:10; Matthew 13:20; 2 Corinthians 2:3; Hebrews 12:2; and 1 Peter 1:8).