“A leader is one who knows the way, shows the way and goes the way,” wrote John Maxwell in his best selling book, The Success Journey.
John’s point speaks to the virtue of vision. Perception. And foresight. It’s also the attribute the apostle John enunciated when he recorded Jesus’ words to the disciples in John 4:35.
“Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!”
The apostles had left Jesus and gone to town to buy food. When they returned they were amazed he was talking to a woman in public, which was frowned upon in that culture. And not just any woman, but a Samaritan. And not just a Samaritan woman, but an immoral woman, who’d been married 5 times, and now was shacked up with some man.
When the disciples urged Jesus to eat, he replied, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.”
Puzzled, they wondered if someone had brought Jesus food while they were away, but the Master responded, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.”
Jesus was sustained by the vision of His mission, ministry, and message. The 19th-century preacher Phillips Brooks put it this way, “Seek your life’s nourishment in your life’s work.”
Fulfilling the Father’s vision and doing His will was Jesus’ source of strength, satisfaction, and fulfillment. When we learn to see as Jesus did, it will be ours as well.
Jesus saw worth, value, and dignity in a woman disregarded, discredited, and denigrated by most of society. Yet, she became a Believer and led others to Jesus saying, “Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?”
He saw Samaritans not with prejudiced, disdainful eyes, but with a future view of them belonging to the harvest of saved souls in His spiritual Vineyard.
Jesus saw something in men who were fishermen, political zealots, and tax collectors they didn’t see in themselves and empowered them to become His spiritual ambassadors.
Jesus saw His people who had lost their way as scattered sheep needing a Shepherd.
He saw lepers, blind beggars, humped over old women, and crippled men not as objects of disdain, but as people created in His Father’s image whom He could help and heal.
He saw the hurting and offered compassion. He saw mourners who lost loved ones and shed tears with them, offering compassion. And he saw little children as the future Kingdom citizens and bid them to “Come unto me.”
What do we see…
…When we look at people with a different skin color, another ethnic group, and an unusual accent?
…When a visitor walks into our worship assembly that’s dressed and looks different?
…When someone new moves into our neighborhood from another section of the country, or another country?
…When we interact in our schools, jobs, and social circles with people of differing moral values or religious beliefs?
…When our children bring home friends whose culture is foreign to ours?
…When brethren and friends on facebook post political positions, party affiliations, and promote candidates opposed to those we endorse?
…When we as pastors and church leaders are planning for the spiritual edification of our churches, and the evangelistic outreach in our communities?
…When as preachers, we’re preparing lessons and preaching to our congregations each Sunday?
…When as parents we consider our responsibility to teach and train our children in the Lord?
…When we look deeply into our own hearts and honestly examine our attitudes and actions?
Do we see as Jesus sees?
Do we see precious souls like Jesus did or people with problems who we need to avoid?
Do we see…
…Opportunities or obstacles?
…Positive solutions or negative results?
…Personal accountability or irresponsible finger-pointing?
…Fruitful harvest or a crop failure?
…Kingdom growth or decline?
“Our Lord did not look on the Father’s will as a heavy burden or a distasteful task,” observed Warren Wiersbe. “He viewed His work as the very nourishment of His soul.
Are we seeing the fields white unto harvest like Jesus saw?
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman