Famous art critic John Ruskin once stated that a good artist must possess three qualities: (1) an eye to see and appreciate the beauty of the scene he hopes to capture on canvas; (2) a heart to feel in order to arrest the beauty and atmosphere of the scene; (3) a hand to perform, thus enabling him to transfer onto the canvas what the eye has seen and what the heart felt.
As I thought about it, these are precisely the qualities of one who truly labors for God in his harvest field:
(1) An eye to see : I don’t know about you, but generally as I make my way through the day, I have places to go, people with whom to engage, and things to accomplish. Internally, I am wired to slam and jam. And the people obstructing my path? “Kindly get out of my way.” Obviously, this is not how Jesus conducted his daily affairs. As he made his way through his day, he was on the alert to minister to people whom the Father placed in his path:
- “ As he went along , he saw a man blind from birth ,” and proceeded to stop his day, and attend to the man’s needs (Jn. 9:1ff).
- “ As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers,” and proceeded to recruit them to himself and his cause (Matt. 4:18ff).
Prayer : “Lord help me today to see and respond with compassion to the people you have placed in my path.”
(2) A heart to feel : As Jesus moved among the masses he felt great compassion for them because he saw them as “confused and aimless…like sheep with no shepherd” (Matt. 9:36 – The Message). Conversely the disciples often seemed to view the masses with indifference, or as an annoying intrusion. (See Mk. 6:35-44).
Prayer : “Lord, grant me a heart that breaks over the things that break your heart.”
(3) A hand to perform : In the parable of the Good Samaritan (Lk. 10:25-37), the priest and Levite avoided the wounded victim of robbery lying by the side of the road. Doubtless, these were busy, responsible men. Could it be that they had lined out an agenda for their day that made no provision for interruption or inconvenience? What they failed to understand is that the ministry ordained by God was already woven into the very fabric of their daily lives. For them ministry was agenda and program driven.
However, as the Samaritan came upon the wounded man, he aborted his day’s activities and responsibilities to help him. Loving a stranger in crisis trumped accomplishing the planned activities of his day.
Could it be that today we need to get our antenna up in anticipation for the “interruptions” that our Sovereign Lord has placed in our path for us to compassionately respond to?
This week, may you experience His grace, peace, and protection.
R. Dwight HillViews: 20