Taking Pictures Teaches us the Importance of Changing our Focus

Several years ago I bought myself a nice digital camera. I read the instruction
manual about the built-in features that promised to make my pictures look like those
produced by folks who know a whole lot more about photography than your everyday
grandmother. The camera came with all sorts of settings that automatically controlled
shutter speed, focus, flash, and lens zooming. It was the equivalent of “photography for
I used my camera to take hundreds of shots while on our recent anniversary
vacation to Hawaii. The trip afforded me with many opportunities to seize the moment
and to encapsulate a scene. From a towering mountain peak to a delicate flower, from
a group portrait to a single face, from a beautiful sunset to a magnificent ocean: all
subjects big and small invited me to frame and click.
Whether shooting photos in Hawaii or just capturing a memory during ordinary
living, my favorite feature is, without a doubt, the zoom. When the whole family is
gathered, I can zoom out to ensure that all of us fit into one shot. The broad view allows
every single person to be included. However, if I only want to photograph the birthday
girl or the newest baby, I can zoom in and capture the genuine smile or the pensive stare
that would be lost from a distance.
I don’t need to wait for vacations, holidays, or birthdays. No! All of life affords
me with the opportunity to seize the moment or encapsulate the scene. I don’t always
carry my camera in my pocket to be instantly ready to practice my zooming in and
zooming out photography passion, but I do constantly carry the mental habit of applying
the concept of zooming. To maintain a perspective on my circumstance, I often have to
widen my focus and include more data. When money is tight, a loved one is ill, or a
conflict arises, I have to shift from a limited viewpoint. I have to bring into the frame all
the component parts, filter in all the relevant light, refocus all the blurry images.
Jesus told his disciples to remove the big board or beam from their eye so they
could help a neighbor with the little speck of dust in his eye (Mt. 7:3-5). Jesus was
instructing them to zoom out. He was indicating that if they were to look too closely on
any singular problem or to fix their gaze exclusively upon someone’s flaw, they would
create a condition where they would block their own vision. By zooming out, they could
see the problem or flaw in perspective to and proportion with many other factors.
Zooming out gives the whole scene, brings into view the entire landscape, sets the size of
the subject into the context of the entire backdrop. Some subjects can only be really
appreciated when framed by zooming out.
Another time, Jesus told his disciples to focus more closely on the particulars of
His eternal rewards rather than on the difficulties they were about to face (John 13-14).
He was instructing them to zoom in. In essence, He told them that a close up shot of the
many wonderful nuances of His promises would keep their hearts from anxiety. When a
loved one is hurting or when a friend is rejoicing, we must zoom in so that we do not
miss the tear or the twinkle in the eye. Some features can only be captured when the
subject fills the whole lens of our attention.
My digital shots are stored on my computer. My mental photos are stored in my
heart. The practice of zooming in and zooming out has insured that my shots are the kind
worth keeping.

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