Today’s Scripture reading is one of the texts Pastor Jay used in his message this past Sunday. I think it is good for us to review it once more before we move on to look at the next Art this Sunday. It’s a picture of Jesus taking notice of the multitude. But not just in broad strokes. He noticed the condition of the people. He saw their worries and weaknesses. He noticed the things that were weighing them down and causing them stress. He saw their hopelessness. The Bible says Jesus noticed them and felt compassion for them.
At the conclusion of Jay’s message, he gave us an assignment for the week to be intentional in “noticing.” The assignment was to pay attention to whoever is in our peripheral vision and to look for what God might be up to in their lives.
I also want to press a very important point Jay made, because this will help us grasp the power and practicality of these Arts. Jay said the point with these Arts, the point with the weekly assignments, is not to add another thing to our “to-do list.” But to learn to cultivate a way of living that causes us to notice God’s activity in the lives of those around us.
Learning these Arts is to practice how to integrate sharing the gospel with others into the rhythm of our everyday lives, with the people we rub shoulder with each day. If we think of sharing the gospel with people as something we need to do in addition to our normal schedules, we may miss the opportunities God puts before us each day. It’s “cultivating a way of living.”
As you practiced the art of noticing this week, how did it go? Who did you notice? Where did you notice them? What did you observe about them? Where were they going? What were the doing? What kind of look did they have in their eyes? What was their demeanor? Maybe you don’t feel your noticing excursion went very well. If so, don’t be discouraged. And don’t give up. As with so many things, the Arts take practice.
But as we do practice these Arts, these basic Biblical disciplines, I believe we will grow in our impact as we carry out our vision to be Christ’s hands and feet in the world every day!
Prayer: Lord, the harvest is plentiful. Help me to cultivate a way of living as I labor for you in your field.