I often find myself getting distracted from priorities. I find that living the message of Jesus often comes in second place when I put my desires and my wants over others’ needs. There is a passage in the New Testament that just blows my mind. It helps me center, if you will, and re-focus the eyes of my heart on the important things in life.
“And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. (36) When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matt. 9:35-36 ESV).
Look at verse 36—it says that when Jesus saw all the people, they were like sheep without a shepherd. What does that mean? I think it means that they were all (we are all) lost, wandering hopelessly through life without guidance. This is important here because it shows that Jesus can see what’s on the inside—not just the outer appearance. He knew the dark condition of their souls—that they were on the losing end of the battle.
How did He respond? It says he had compassion for them. He didn’t respond with a scathing sermon about their woeful condition, but rather responded in action—in love. He responded with compassion, in the Greek “to feel pity” for these people. He didn’t judge them as sinners on a one-way trip to Hell—no! He set out to rescue them from that! He set out to give them a shepherd.
What’s my point in all this? What am I getting at? There is a great question we must ask ourselves here: do I see people the way God sees them? I must confess that I often do not. I make judgments, I pass verdicts, I condemn the world, and I display malevolence and indifference instead of compassion and mercy. The Book of Jude tells us,
“But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. (21) Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. (22) Be merciful to those who doubt; (23) snatch others from the fire and save them;” (Jude 1:20-23a NIV).
Maybe the church has been looking through the wrong set of eyes when we see people. I know that I have. Maybe, just maybe there is a prayer that we need to be praying that simply asks God to give us His eyes. To let us see the world the way He sees it—with love, mercy, compassion, and action that speaks louder than any words. With the kind of love that won’t let us stop with ourselves, but pushes on to snatch others out of the fire as someone did to us. If we looked at the world through the very eyes of God, we would see the world from a completely different perspective. We would stop seeing the world as an inconvenience and start viewing it as an opportunity.
There is a song by a guy named Brandon Heath called “Gimme’Your Eyes.” I just want to share the lyrics with you as I wrap this up: “Give me your eyes for just one second, Give me your eyes so I can see Everything that I keep missing, Give me your love for humanity, Give me your arms for the broken-hearted The ones that are far beyond my reach, Give me you heart for the ones forgotten, Give me your eyes so I can see.” We would do well to ask the same of God. It will change the church and our lives. Just something to think about.