November 16, 2011

Seeing as Jesus Sees

Matthew 9:35-38

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless …
Matthew 9:36


Both of us grew up on the western coast of the United States. Alongside a thriving dairy industry were many seasonal berry crops to be harvested. Every summer truckloads of seasonal workers came north to work on the harvest. It was a way of life so familiar that we barely acknowledged the tough living conditions in some of the camps. We saw it on the surface but just drove by. We picked strawberries in rows right next to seasonal workers. But we did not really see with Jesus’ eyes how difficult their lives were.

Yet Jesus took it all in. He knew their heartaches, anxieties and frustration. The poor conditions in some of the camps broke his heart.

A church planter we know prayed that Jesus would help him really see the people of his community where he was called to plant a church. As he spent the day “prayerwalking,” Jesus opened the eyes of his heart. He spent the day walking and weeping at the brokenness he saw. That day he was forever bonded in love with the people of that neighborhood.

Yes, Jesus sees “the crowds,” but also knows each of his sheep by name as he calls them into his love and grace. If we ask, Jesus will open our eyes to see people around us as he sees them. Be ready to have your heart broken. Things will never look the same.

Lord, help us to see with our hearts the people around us who are suffering or facing injustice. Give us the love and courage to become their advocates and friends. Amen.

About the author — Allen & Lynn Likkel

Revs. Allen and Lynn Likkel have worked in communities across North America for many years—planting churches, nurturing them along, and developing new church leaders. A minister in the Christian Reformed Church, Allen served with Christian Reformed Home Missions for nearly 40 years, and Lynn, also ordained as a minister of the Word, has served to build leaders and new congregations. In November 2010, Allen entered retirement, and the Likkels moved to Washington, their native state. They have four adult children.

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