Watching People

by Todd Wessels

Aren’t people fascinating?  No really, have you ever sat in a shopping mall or any place where a lot of people are milling around, maybe an airport, well you get the idea.  I do this a lot especially when Cindy and I go shopping together.  If you’ve participated in this maybe you have had the opportunity to observe a family, or couple, for a little longer time.  Don’t you find yourself wondering about their story?  Or maybe you are even subconsciously filling in some of that in your mind; putting together parts of their story even if you know nothing about them.

I wonder if that is part of how God created us; inherently wanting to know people’s stories – wondering, what is really going on there. Now, of course, it is a lot easier to do this from a distance; away from the real action, a safe distance, especially if there might be some messiness there that we would just as soon not get involved in. We can easily do that while sitting on a bench at the shopping mall. But what about the church?

We find ourselves as church staff thinking and talking about what this looks like for us as we truly try to catch what we are to hear in those commands to love one another. Who does that include? And what we have been talking about is how do we really see people. What does that entail?

As a church we recently went through an all church series called “Transformed” which happens when we get how God through His son Jesus “sees” us. Which then becomes part of how He then has called us to see those others that God puts before us. Who is God putting before you? What might it mean for you to really see them; that kind of seeing will probably require us to do more than watch from a mall bench?  Reggie McNeal, in his book “Missional Renaissance”, challenges the church to quit evangelizing people. He calls us to bless them instead;  to be a blessing, but be a blessing that causes the gospel to win a hearing in people’s lives, from Jen Hatmaker’s book “Interrupted”, because that kind of seeing also will require more than a very limited viewing, like at a shopping mall, maybe that word relationship would be involved?  Let’s talk more about the power of that.