Jesus, the greatest leader of all time, saw the individuals in the crowds around Him and was moved to compassionate action. As Christian leaders, we consciously engage with the people in our ministry world. But do we do the same with the people in our everyday world?
Last week I shared that God’s been leading me to interact with people when I’m out and about. As I’ve processed this with Him, He’s given me vision to see individual people with His eyes. He’s given me increased compassion, boldness to initiate conversations, and fresh insights to pass along.
It’s almost never been easy, it’s been awkward, and it’s also been ridiculously fulfilling. Best of all, people are being touched by God’s love.
Stepping Out of My Comfort Zone into God’s Love Zone
- I’m taking incremental steps with the greeter at a local vitamin store. On one occasion, I paused to say, “I just wanted you to know how much God loves you.” On another, I asked his name, and asked if there was anything he’d like prayer for. He responded, “You can do what you want, but I don’t believe in that stuff.” He might not believe now, but I’m praying he will. And I frequent that store.
- A woman at Burger King had her head in her hands as she sat waiting for her food. I saw her on my way in, and was about to leave with my take-out meal when I noticed her again. I approached her and asked if there was anything I could pray for her about. There was. She was undergoing medical tests and was worried about the results. I prayed. Her husband joined us with a tray of food and a curious look on his face. I explained why I was there, and he shared that they’re believers. As it turned out, we had mutual friends through the ministry where I serve, and we had a great time of fellowship.
- The man at the antique store in Washington D.C. wasn’t so receptive. As I paid for my small key, he explained that it was actually an old-fashioned lamp switch. I said, “Oh, so we can go from darkness to light—the same thing that Jesus does for us.” He said, “I’m an atheist.” To which I replied, “Well, even so, I’d love to pray for you, what’s your name?” He told me, shaking his head as I smiled at him and took my small parcel. It’s on my keychain—a tangible reminder to pray for him.
- The cashier at the grocery store was having a hard day. Her scanner was broken and the produce scale was acting up. I began talking with her, and she added many more woes to her list of complaints. I sensed God’s heart for her, and as she handed me my receipt, I said, “As we’ve been talking, I felt God wanted you to know that you’re a jewel to Him.” Surprised, she said, “A jewel?” I said, “Yes, a jewel. You know, a gemstone. Not a rhinestone, which is a cheap imitation. He views you as a very precious jewel with great value.” God’s words hit her heart. Her face flushed. She said a soft, “Thank you,” with a sound of amazement in her voice.
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd (Matt. 9:36, ESV)
See with God’s eyes. Feel with His compassion. Speak with His love and words. The call to be like our Good Shepherd extends beyond the sheepfold of our own ministry; sheep without a shepherd are waiting.