What Do You See?
Thousands of people were waiting to get in. The line snaked down and around the Tacoma Dome and across the street. Traffic was bumper to bumper into the parking lots and backed up on Interstate 5. This was the scene at the Pacific Lutheran University graduation in Tacoma, WA this spring.
Ordinarily I’m not a crowd person. I would rather hike through the woods than join thousands of people at a parade or concert or game. When I look out over a crowd, I see the problems—traffic jams, lines for the bathroom, competition for seats and overpriced food. But on this day Dave and I joined the crowd as proud parents funneling into the dome to celebrate our son’s graduation.
What do you see when you look over a crowd? Do you enjoy going to the state fair or to the heart of a fireworks display?
In our Bible story this week a crowd has gathered to listen to Jesus. Matthew 14: 13-21 The disciples look out over this crowd of thousands and see it as a problem (sounds like me). People look hungry and tired. They have traveled miles to get here and have miles to go before night fall. Maybe the disciples just want to have Jesus to themselves for a while. They tell Jesus: “Send the crowds away so they can get food.”
Jesus sees the crowd differently. We should know by now that Jesus sees the world through the eyes of God’s kingdom. Just like Jesus saw a mustard seed as large bush sheltering birds instead of a weed seed. Just like Jesus saw invisible yeast as powerful enough to transform 40 pounds of flour into food. When Jesus looks out over the crowd, he sees with God’s eyes full of compassion. Jesus sees their pain, their hunger, their need.
You may know the end of the story. Jesus feeds the five thousand. Right? Not exactly. Jesus tells the disciples, “You feed them.” The disciples point out all they have is 5 loaves and 2 fish. After Jesus blesses that little food, the disciples do indeed feed all of the people. And there are even leftovers!
What does Jesus see?
- Every single one of God’s children with compassion.
- The abundance in five loaves and two fish when shared.
- The power of prayer to our heavenly Father.
- The potential in each disciple to reach out and make a difference.
Lord, help us see ourselves and others with Your compassionate eyes. Help us recognize Your voice as you tell us, “You help them.” Amen.
Check out these videos and links. What do you see?