Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Matthew 9:35-37
Jesus saw the multitudes and was moved with compassion for them. Why?
Because Jesus saw people. The gateway to compassion is seeing others in their situation – being attuned to those doing life around us. All too often, we tend to be so singularly focused on our own pursuits, timelines, and daily tasks, that we fail to notice those around us.
All too often, we tend to be so singularly focused on our own pursuits, timelines, and daily tasks, that we fail to notice those around us.
Break Our Of Your Comfort Zone
For some, it takes a deliberate act to look upward, to smile, to engage. To others, it comes more naturally. Some rarely, if ever, step beyond the comfortable bounds of our immediate group of acquaintances or family. An equal number rarely do so beyond known church settings. Why not?
Whichever camp you find yourself in, it is imminently clear that the key to “seeing” is not only being grounded in one’s relationship with God the Father but also being out in the marketplace. You cannot see, sense, feel, or truly interact from the safe haven of home. Yes – I know – Zoom, Google Meets, and Microsoft Teams can occasionally bridge the gap. But I will challenge you that you will rarely use these means to chat to the stranger at the grocery store, or the neighboring farmer, or the family that shares your quad-plex.
Bring Hope In The Marketplace
The larger-than-life evangelist D.L. Moody first made a name for himself in downtown Chicago’s pubs and meeting rooms. He was an equal-part storyteller, equal-part preacher, equal-part gregarious and bearded… a “people person.” My late father, Pastor Everett A. Flight, had an unparalleled passion for the “marketplace.” When I coyly asked him for vocational guidance when serving as a young officer in Petawawa, ON in the early 2000’s he famously responded, “What is needed now more than ever is more men and women of God in the marketplace – the last thing we need is another suit behind a pulpit.”
That’s quite a statement coming from a man who had committed the balance of his adult life to full-time ministry. It’s a simple yet profound call to action: a call to be a light in a world that has a truck-load of needs – and the greatest of these needs is hope. In the natural sense, the future is as uncertain as it has ever been. I cannot think of a finer time than 2020/2021 to be a beacon of hope and assurance.
Share The Heart Of God
The product of intimacy with God is to share the heart of the Father. The heart of the Father is not judgmental. It is not discriminatory. It is not shy, self-centred, paternalistic, nor aloof. It is the very opposite of these innate human dispositions. In the heart of God, we see mercy, grace, forgiveness, favour, help, safety, triumph, joy, and peace. The list (of goodness) is seemingly inexhaustible. Isn’t this the alternative our COVID-depressed, headline-weary North America needs right now? I would argue – it sure is.
The central message of Luke Chapter 15 is expressly about seeing the heart of God. Every single individual is important to him. Although these early teachings were about simple, relatable matters such as lost coins and lost sheep, they are every bit as pertinent today.
What Do You See?
Many of us have lost something important this year. This may be as simple as a client, a job prospect, or a significant family travel moment. Perhaps it’s a part of your social life – the freedom to associate or move about mask-free. Regrettably, these freedoms may feel like a distant memory. We ought to crave the things we’ve lost, only if the things we have lost have real, enduring value.
The questions we must ask ourselves today are: What is truly valuable and enduring in my life? How can I share these things with those around me, no matter how insignificant, distant, or fleeting the interaction moments may seem?
We are called to see. We are called to share the intangibles. We are called to point others to a hope that does not fade but grows brighter in the face of the world’s trials. Therein lies our purpose. Be encouraged!