I am a fan of Frank Viola and his writings. He is always current and on the cutting edge of what God is up to in His Kingdom. He is a fan of – and thus mentions frequently – a man names T. Austin-Sparks (1888-1972) who was a preacher. His teachings are on-line and you can buy them on amazon.ca or simply go to the man’s web page and download them all free. Austin-Sparks was a friend of F.B. Meyer whose teachings I also read. So, as a fan of Viola and Meyers I have looked up T. Austin-Sparks and have begun reading some of his teachings.
One of Frank Viola’s stories as quoted in his new book “Hang On, Let Go” reads as follows:
Those who read my work know I’m an unabashed T. Austin-Sparks fanboy. Spiritually speaking, Sparks was a force of nature. But as deep as his insights into Christ and God’s purpose were, he, took, had mentors.
On one occasion, Sparks went to visit F. B. Meyer, an amazing author on the deeper Christian life and a man whom Sparks held in high regard. Meyer wasn’t available when Sparks visited, so he was asked to wait in Meyer’s study.
As Sparks looked at Meyer’s library, he spotted a wooden plaque that contained two words inscribed in gold. Those words were “Look Down.”
Meyer walked in at that moment and greeted Sparks. Sparks mentioned he plaque and asked, “Shouldn’t it be look up, and not look down?”
Meyer responded: “It’s a question of your position. If you are in Christ, you are seated with Him in heavenly places and you look down. But if you are under the situation, the only thing you can do is look up.”
As best you can, take the heavenly view of your life. Remember that this life is passing. As a follower of Jesus, therefore, you’re a sojourner and a pilgrim here (1 Peter 2:11; Hebrews 11:13)
It’s true that one can be so heavenly minded that they are no earthly good. But it’s even more true that a person can be so earthly minded that they’re no heavenly or earthly good.
In your day of trouble, remember where you are. And learn to look down, not just up.
(Story is from Chapter 68 of “Hang On, Let Go”)
T. Austin-Sparks quote: “Are you looking at God through your circumstances out at your circumstances through God?”