Vol.XV No.XII Pg.1
February 1979

Who Is Upside Down?

Robert F. Turner

When in Australia I was constantly reminded of what I considered to be my "upside down" position. The cold wind blew from the south, spring began in September, the sun arched to the north, etc., etc. How could my Aussie friends seem so "at home" in such an upside down country? Then it occurred to me, if civilization had had its beginning in the southern hemisphere, and world exploration and map making had been from here, the U.S. would be upside down. My homeland would be "down-under." It all depends on one's point of reference.

And I remembered that when the disciples of the Lord argued concerning the "greatest" in the kingdom, Jesus said, "he that is least among you all the same shall be great" (Luke 9:48). The Lord's kingdom is "upside down" using man's conception of greatness as a point of reference. But if we are able and willing to accept the Lord as the standard it is our concept that is upside down, and His way is "right side up."

A paradox is "a tenet contrary to received opinion ... that yet may be true in fact." It is seemingly contradictory, but only because we measure it by incomplete standards. The whole truth includes things not generally recognized in our limited experience.

How could the meek inherit the earth? You need not ask a bold and presumptuous J. W. to answer. How can we gain our life by losing it? Or be a Master by serving? The paradoxical nature of these statements is such only when we view them from our materialistic point of reference. They are upside down statements only when considered from our upside down position. But when Jesus taught these truths He had the true perspective (Matt. 5:1-f; 10:39; 20:25-28). He saw clearly what we see but dimly, if at all. He pointed man to a right side up standard.

For Jesus saw life in an eternal reference. Man's life is but a brief pilgrimage, time is fleeting, even the "heavens and earth" shall pass away. Centuries of generations have demonstrated the correctness of His greater view — the futility of man's upside down philosophy. Must we wait until irrevocable judgment proves it?