Disciplines of the Steward Leader: #6 – Pray for Eyes to See your Neighbor as God Sees Them
When I am in a hurry I see the people God places in my path as obstacles to be overcome. I get focused on my agenda, my needs and my precious time and the people I encounter mostly get in my way. They don’t drive fast enough, move me through check out lines quickly enough or return emails promptly enough. In this mindset, people are mostly frustrations. That is because I see them in the static moment in which I encounter them. Thank God he does not see me in the same way!
Steward leaders are given the gift of viewing relationship as dynamic and not static. That is, they see people as fellow travelers on life’s journey and understand that each encounter is an opportunity to be used by God to help them on that journey.
Think about how many people you will encounter today, in either very brief or quite substantial ways. How easy is it to see them in the static moment and treat them as a means to your own ends? We not only do this with strangers, but we can find ourselves doing the same with co-workers, friends and even our spouses and children.
What if God gave you the eyes to see everyone you encounter within the context of the larger journey that they are traveling? What if you had a glimpse of the pain they are enduring, the fears that haunt them, the uncertainty they feel or the hopes they are trying to keep alive? What if you were able to see the impact that a few carefully placed words could have on them as they travel?
Steward leaders see relationships as gifts that God has given us to nurture and bless. We can respond with an ‘owning and controlling’ attitude that seeks to use people to get us what we need, or we can pray for the eyes of Christ that we might enter into those journeys, if even for a brief moment, with one kind, supportive, encouraging word.
If you can, take a moment and read the story of Jesus’ encounter with the blind beggar from Luke 18:35-43. Do you identify with the disciples, who were so busy keeping to their agenda that they saw the man as an obstacle? Can you pray today to have the eyes and heart that Jesus had – eyes that really see your neighbor as God sees them and a heart that stops and listens and cares and responds?
Steward leaders have been set free to step outside themselves and truly encounter people in ways that helps set them free. That is a meaningful and rich way to live, and we have been called to nothing less. This requires the daily discipline of prayer, that our hearts may be set right and our eyes opened to see ourselves as fellow travelers with everyone we encounter. God will place people in your path today who need a word of blessing or an act of kindness. How will you respond?