“Did you ask me what I’m staring at? Can’t you see! Those got to be the two luckiest guys in town. Just look at the bikes they’re driving. They get off their Harley-Davidson Roadsters and walked through the marina and then tore out into the harbour in a Fountain Powerboat 32 Thunder Cat. Incredible monster power! They’re so lucky. I’m green with envy!”

That’s one way to look at people.

  • “Why can’t I get a fat raise in pay and climb the ladder faster?”
  • “Look at the car they own.”
  • “I wish I could take an annual vacation like that.”
  • “I wish I had half her looks.”

You can probably add to the list.

Many years ago, there was a Man who interacted daily with people from all walks of life – the big-wigs and the outcasts. The fine-dining type with all their etiquette and finesse, as well as the beggar who survived on a daily menu of scraps tossed to him. When He looked at all these people, He saw them from a different perspective.

When he saw the crowds, He had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” Matthew 9:36-38

Harassed by religion. Burdened with the tedious regulations imposed on them by the Pharisees. How heavy the burden becomes when one starts to see the emptiness of merely performing religious duties. These people were tired of the sham and hypocrisy. The crowds were disillusioned by the hollowness of rituals and the flaunting of power by those who should have been their shepherds and teachers. Spiritually, the crowds were harassed and helpless – like sheep without a shepherd.

When Jesus looked at people, He saw beyond their outward behaviour and their external appearances. He saw beyond their possessions and wealth; or, at the other end of the spectrum, their financial poverty. He saw through the facade of religious practices.  When He looked at people, He saw them from a spiritual perspective – lost, helpless, wounded by sin, perishing, travelling towards a lost eternity and He was moved with compassion towards them. He saw them as sheep without a shepherd – a pathetic situation.

When the Lord Jesus looked at the crowds, all He thought about was the huge spiritual need and the urgency of the situation.

Why don’t you pray about looking at people differently – through a different set of lens? When you catch yourself looking at someone and wishing you could be like them or have what they have or do what they do, why don’t you deliberately try to re-focus and think about the need of their hearts? Look at them and think: where will they be 100 years from now?  Look at the crowds in the shopping mall or at the beach or on the sidewalks and see beyond the external. Think about the darkness and unrest in their hearts and breathe out a prayer to the Lord on their behalf.

Start praying for the souls of people in the crowds you see and ‘wherever’ you see them. Make it a life-long spiritual practice to breathe out silent and brief – but frequent prayers on behalf of the people you pass by each day.

Walk carefully and closely with the Lord today.

Warmly in Christ
Peter Ramsay

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