Every day God places people in our path. He has a purpose in doing this. For us they may appear to be everything from delightful divine appointments to frustrating obstacles. The unexpected call of encouragement from a friend, the neighbor who stopped to chat, keeping us from our work, and the rude driver that cuts us off or steals the last parking space; these are all people God allows to intersect our life’s journey day by day.
How do we see them? Consider the different ways the disciples viewed the blind man in Jericho from the way Jesus saw him:
As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening. They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” He called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to Him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want Me to do for you?” “Lord, I want to see,” he replied. Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God. (Luke 18:35-43)
Do you see the difference? The disciples had an agenda to keep. They needed to get Jesus through Jericho and they wanted no one to distract them from their job. They pushed the crowd aside and made way for Him, hoping no one would distract them from their duty. You can hear the irritation in their voices, actually rebuking the man for asking the Lord of the universe to have mercy on him. I believe the disciples were viewing this man in what I call a “static moment.” That is, they only considered him in the context of their agenda, their schedule and their needs. In that moment, he was an obstacle, an irritant that needed to be quieted.
Jesus, on the other hand, likely saw this man in the context of his entire life. Perhaps he saw a tiny baby born blind and the rejection of his parents. He saw a little boy who never got to play with friends or be accepted in any level of the culture in which he lived. He saw a young man who gave up every hope of marriage, job and a normal life. Now he saw the culmination of a tragic life represented in a small heap of clothing calling out from the side of the road for one moment of mercy. And Jesus had compassion. He allowed his schedule to be interrupted and he made the man a priority over everything else He and those around them had planned for Him.
I believe this is a choice we are presented with every day. Will we see people in the static moment, through the lens of our own agenda, or will we consider their journey and what this moment of intersection with ours might really mean to them, and to us?
If we are to be stewards of the relationships God entrusts to us, we must pray each day that God would give us eyes to see those around us as He sees them. Imagine what we might see. Behind the rude comment, a breaking heart. The distracted driver processing the loss of a job. An abrasive email response sent in a moment of overwhelming stress. If we will let Jesus allow us to see these people as He sees them, to consider them in the context of where they may be on their journey, I believe He will give us hearts to act with compassion and seek to be a blessing in every life He sends our way.
After you read this blog, be prepared for every encounter, every person you will bump into, every moment of human contact that will come your way. Ask God for a heart to bring a word of encouragement, a prayer, a smile and a spirit of grace into each one. Pray that God would allow you to be a source of blessing to every life you touch today. I believe you will be amazed at the joy it will bring you as you steward every opportunity for God’s purpose and His glory.