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Mission Devotional - October 24, 2017

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Opening Prayer: O Lord Jesus, I look at you, and my eyes are fixed on your eyes. Your eyes penetrate the eternal mystery of the divine and see the glory of God. They are also the eyes that saw Simon, Andrew, Nathanael, and Levi, the eyes that saw the woman with the hemorrhage, the widow of Nain, the blind, the lame, the lepers, and the hungry crowd, the eyes that saw the sad, rich ruler, the fearful disciples on the lake, and the sorrowful women at the tomb. Your eyes, O Lord, see in one glance the inexhaustible love of God and the seemingly endless agony of all people who have lost faith in that love and are like sheep without a shepherd.

As I look into your eyes, they frighten me because they pierce like flames of fire my innermost being, but they console me as well, because these flames are purifying and healing. Your eyes are so severe yet so loving, so unmasking yet so protecting, so penetrating yet so caressing, so profound yet so intimate, so distant yet so inviting.

I gradually realize that I want to be seen by you, to dwell under your caring gaze, and to grow strong and gentle in your sight. Lord, let me see what you see - the love of God and the suffering of people - so that my eyes may become more and more like yours, eyes that can heal wounded hearts. (The Road to Daybreak by Henri Nouwen)

Scripture: John 1:47-51

Journal: What does Jesus see in you this day? What is your deepest inner reality today? How do you feel about that?

Reflection: When Jesus sees Nathanael, he really sees him. In fact, he sees right into him; nothing is hidden. And when he looks deeply into the heart and soul of this man, what does he bring attention to? He brings attention to what is true and what is beautiful. He sees a man being exactly who and what God truly intended him to be; nothing false. No hiding, no masking, no posturing, no proving. How beautiful is that?

And you can tell by Nathanael's response that he has truly been seen. "How do you know me?" he replies. He didn't disagree with Jesus, because Jesus had spoken to his deepest parts. Jesus had recognized what was most deeply true and spoken into that. Not to say that Nathanael was perfect, obviously he wasn't, but what Jesus saw, and chose to call attention to, was the fact that deep within Nathanael was a longing (and an attempt) to live truly. To be the best, God-breathed version of himself.

I love this story because I live with the desire to be seen as well. Not just the screwed up, messy, insecure, neurotic parts of myself - my worst self that is - but the good and true and beautiful parts of myself. I long for those parts to be seen and acknowledged and called forth and called to life, so that I am drawn to live more and more out of my best, God-intended self each minute of each day. I love that this seems to be Jesus' desire for me as well.

And not only is it his desire for me, but it is his desire for how I go about seeing and relating to others. In essence, it is what true ministry is all about: really seeing people, really knowing people, and really loving people. People are dying to be seen, known, and loved. And if we follow Jesus' example here, that is just what we will do. We will go about our days and our lives with our eyes wide open; looking beyond the surface of things and of people and seeing into their depths. And once we do, we will try to draw out and call out and call forth that which is most true and most beautiful about them.

Prayer for the church, for others, for myself

Josh and Jenny M. are working with the RAK Church Plant in the United Arab Emirates. The RAK Evangelical Church has now been formally constituted as a church with about 40 members. The church building has been completed and was dedicated on May 12, 2017. Pray that this new building will continue to draw unbelievers to hear the gospel and for a season of rest for Josh and Jenny now that the building is completed.

Wycliffe Associates (India, Kenya, Nepal) accelerates Bible translation around the world by empowering national translators and equipping the local church to translate God's Word into every language. Wycliffe Bible Translators (China) has Bible translators located in China translating the Bible into local dialects. Pray today for these translators and their work.

Closing Prayer: O Jesus, give me eyes like yours this day: eyes that see the way you see, eyes that look into the depths of whomever is before me at the moment and see what is good and beautiful and true about them, and then call it forth into being. Amen.