As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honor your father and mother.’” He said to him, “Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth.” Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said (emphasis mine), “You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.
Jesus “looking at him, loved him and said...” Now we could say that those words didn’t really have to be in the story, they could have been edited out, because if Jesus was talking to the man, he was obviously “looking at him.”
But those words are in the Scripture, and for a reason. The words convey the fact that Jesus wasn’t just “looking at him,” he was giving the man his full attention. In this intimate time not only did Jesus see that he loved the man, but also he was able to see his condition.
Truly seeing and giving people our full attention is so important, but it is becoming a lost art today. During vacation I encountered a perfect example of this. While swimming in the lake our Golden Retriever got a bacterial infection causing her to have diarrhea. After Googling what to do they said the first and simplest step was to give the dog Imodium. So, that morning, I drove to the nearest gas station, walked into the store, found two travel packs of Imodium, and went to counter. The woman there, grabbed the two packs of Imodium, rang them up, and after handing the Imodium back to me, she said, “Have a great day.”
I almost burst out into laughter. Here was a man coming to a small gas station out in the middle of nowhere, he doesn’t buy gas, but runs in and buy two packs of Imodium. Somehow saying, “Have a great day,” doesn’t seem to be the thing to say!
Now in defense of the woman, what does one say in a situation like that, but I got the feeling, she was simply putting in her time. She saw a lot of people throughout the day, but I’m not sure she saw anyone, nor did she give anyone her attention, much less her full attention.
Another example of this loss of giving people our full attention today when you are talking to someone is something and their cell phone goes off and immediately (emphasis mine) they take their eyes, mind and heart off of you and your discussion, and give their attention to whoever or whatever just called them.
Jesus shows us how to truly be with another person. When you are with them, give them your full attention. Really see them, really hear them, really enter into their story. When we do this we will find out a lot about that person, more than we would otherwise know. Likewise, they will relish the fact that they are really being seen and heard. And in the course of that time we will see the beauty in that person, just like Jesus did. And also in truly hearing them, we will be able to see their true condition and we can bless them with words of healing.
~ God bless, Dan