Moses was 120 years old when he died, yet his eyesight was clear, and he was as strong as ever. Deuteronomy 34:7 (NLT)
Last week, I went to see the optometrist. As I expected, I needed a stronger prescription. When we were young, many of us most likely took our eyesight for granted. I don’t think I spent much time appreciating the gift of sight. But as I grow older and now need assistance reading the text or the computer screen, I value the gift of seeing even more.
However, even if we have perfect physical eyesight, it does not necessarily mean we see things correctly. In Scripture, we read of those who have eyes but cannot see or have ears but cannot hear.
Paul reminds us that “we walk by faith and not by sight.” This is true regarding our salvation and the eternal things of God, and we depend upon it when we walk through the valleys of life. But what we see is very important to how we interact with this world and how we will impact it for Christ. The question is, “what do you see?”
For us to effectively fulfill the Great Commission and to have an impact upon our world, we must have a clear physical and spiritual vision. We understand the importance of having our spiritual eyes opened.
We remember Elisha’s servant who arose one morning and saw the Aramean army surrounding them; only when Elisha asked the Lord to open his servant’s eyes did he see the heavenly armies.
When we have our spiritual eyes opened, we see things the way they are instead of how we comprehend them with our natural eyesight. As the Holy Spirit enables us to see unseen things, we gain the strength to face the difficulties of this life.
So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever. 2 Corinthians 4:18 (NLT)
Eyes That See
However, it is just as essential for us to see the world through our physical eyes. If our physical eyes are not open to see the needs, how will we be able to minister God’s love and mercy, and grace to them? With our physical eyes, we see opportunities to share the love of Jesus. The words “see” or “saw” occur about 400 times in the Gospels and Acts.
It is a combination of physical and spiritual eyesight that enables us to observe and respond to others’ needs. We can fail to demonstrate Christ’s love, even to those close to us, because of selfishness or indifference. It is even more challenging to show love to those we find difficult, strange, or repulsive.
The question is this: what is our reaction and response when our eyes are opened to see the hurting and lost people? The answer to this question will largely determine how effective we will be in ministering the love of Christ into their lives.
Do You See Them?
Jesus gives us a marvelous example of how we should respond when we see those around us in Mark 6:34.
And Jesus, when He came out, saw a great multitude and was moved with compassion for them, because they were like sheep not having a shepherd. So He began to teach them many things. (NKJV)
This verse moved me, and I began to ask the Lord to help me see people the way he sees them instead of through my judgmental, sometimes condescending, eyes. To see like Jesus, we need to have a heart like Jesus. Look at the elements of this verse. First of all, it tells us that he came out. To see those in need, we must first come out into the world. We will not see people’s needs if we stay hidden away in the safety of our homes and churches.
We will only see people’s needs when we are outside of the walls of our church and in the community among people, or in other words when we are living our lives as ordinary people. However, we are not ordinary because we are on assignment to minister the love of Jesus.
When Jesus came out, he saw the great crowd and discerned that they were like sheep without a shepherd. Compassion welled up within him, and he was moved to action. If we are not forced to act, our response is not compassionate. Compassion demands a reaction, and when Jesus saw these drifting people, He began to teach them many things.
See and Act
How will we meet the needs of those in trouble if we do not open our eyes to see the conditions? How will we be able to put into action these ministries unless we first see the needs with our eyes?
When we see those with needs and act upon what we see, we minister to Jesus. It is not necessarily that we see Jesus in the hungry and the thirsty, the stranger or the naked, but instead, when we go out and see those in need and then act to meet that need, we are ministering to him. This is not a Universalist sentiment that sees Christ in everyone. It is the action of getting out and seeing people as Christ sees them and then moving to address the need. That is how our service to others is received as ministry to Christ.
We Want to See Jesus
If it is vital for us to see the world as Christ sees it to be effective in ministry, they must also see Christ in us. See these verses in John 12:20-21: Now there were certain Greeks among those who came up to worship at the feast. Then they came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and asked him, saying, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” (NKJV)
People want to see the real thing. Sin, this world, and the devil beat people up and instilled in them a sense of worthlessness, hopelessness, and despair. They do not need to hear the words of condemnation from us; instead, as we minister the love, acceptance, and forgiveness of Jesus Christ, I truly believe that they will see Jesus in us.
Unlike Moses, my natural eyesight is diminishing, but I believe that Jesus can perform the necessary corrections so that my spiritual vision will remain clear. When Jesus touches our eyes, we will see Him and see what he sees.
Photo by Kenaz Nepomuceno: