Optimism in 2020
Weekly Word

Felicia and I watched the new Netflix documentary called “Inside Bill’s Brain.” It is a three-part series offering insights into the genius of Bill Gates. It is fascinating, to say the least. Bill Gates reads 14 books a week; he led the effort to eradicate polio from the planet; he has prioritized sanitation in developing countries, as a critical step toward safe drinking water.

The driving force behind his genius is an unfailing OPTIMISM. At his core, Bill Gates is optimistic. When hard work comes alongside of good research and adequate resources, even the most complex puzzles can be solved. Bill believes that problems can be addressed and ultimately overcome. This optimism leads him forward.

The human race and planet earth face some daunting issues, but when one scans the breadth of history, the facts point to another reality. Consider these trends:

200 years ago, 94% of the people on the planet lived in extreme poverty; today 10% live in extreme poverty.

200 years ago, 17% of the people had a basic education; today 86% percent have a basic education.

200 years ago, 12% of the population could read; today 85% are able to read.

200 years ago, 43% of newborns would die before their 5th birthday; today 4% of newborns die before their 5th birthday.

On Whidbey Island, we live better, eat better, travel safer, and have more access to quality health care than any king, queen, or rich person who lived more than 70 years ago. To say that we are blessed in the scope of human history would be an understatement.

Optimism – I am committed to embracing optimism in 2020. This optimism is not Pollyanna-ish in nature. Bill Gates may have our crap and polio covered, but all of us still face our share of problems. This optimism does not deny the reality of the problems, it just attempts to put those problems in their proper perspective.

When I look at Trinity Church, I am optimistic. I see what is possible when God’s people work together. I am inspired by your talent, your generosity, your courage in the face of adversity, and your faith. I am optimistic, because with God all things are possible.

I will not be reading 14 books a week in 2020, but I hope to embrace a new sense of optimism.

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

Keep smiling!

Pastor Jim