Set your minds on things above. (Col. 3:2)

The journey up the marble staircase, past the priceless statuary and gilded halls of the renowned Paris Opera House inspired awe enough. But thankfully I remembered one admonition as I peeked into the theater itself: look up. For above the audience—that often sits in darkness, captivated by the world’s most alluring music—one finds greatness. Behind the chandelier made famous in The Phantom of the Opera is a mural by Marc Chagall. (Yes, that Chagall.) Stunning! But then, behind that, lies a baroque ceiling many deem even more breathtaking than Chagall’s mural.

In Colossians Paul reminded us to focus on things above. By looking up, he said, we find peace, wisdom, instruction, purpose, and all we need to live rich, fulfilled lives of gratefulness. He spoke as though we must make this intentional, as though it might not come naturally. And he spoke as though our focus must be intense if we are to experience what is easily missed.

Thinking back to the opera house, I wonder how often I’m like the audience, perhaps in the dark or maybe distracted by the finest the world offers on its stage. How much I miss in life when I don’t remember to look up. But when I focus my eyes where they should be, everything suddenly comes into focus and takes on new meaning, and true greatness is revealed.

Place a piece of art somewhere above eye level to remind you to look up.

Diane Gardner lives in northern California. She enjoys oil painting, theater, community festivals, and quiet evenings at home.