There is a phenomenon that occurs with a newborn baby where they look up and notice for the first time someone looking at them. They often respond to the smiling onlooker with a smile in return. Psychologists call this attunement. The baby has become aware or socially attuned to others.
This phenomenon reminds me of a great blessing in the Old Testament I have always enjoyed:
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace” (Num 6:24-26).
A shining face is a smiling face. This blessing speaks of God focusing on you with a brilliant smile. Our heavenly Father notices us.
There is an account recorded in Luke’s gospel of Christ noticing a woman in need. The story describes a lady who had suffered from a disability for eighteen years. If there were ever a good excuse to miss church, I would guess that this woman’s disability would have been it. However, she went to the synagogue on a particular day when Jesus just happened to be teaching. Luke records:
“When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your disability.” And he laid his hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God” (Lk 13:12-13).
This miraculous healing easily overshadows the fact that Luke thought it important to note “Jesus saw her.” The wording in the Greek (the original language of Luke’s gospel) carries the idea of paying attention or noticing. Jesus noticed this woman. God incarnate looked upon this woman, noticed her and her need and blessed her by infusing her body with His healing power.
I have to admit I often go through life so focused on the next thing that I forget that God is graciously looking upon me. I also can be in such a hurry to accomplish the next thing that I can be blinded to those around me. I can walk right past someone without noticing him.
As I look at the Gospels much of what is recorded of Christ is found in His interaction with individuals. He makes himself available to a man seeking wisdom by the name of Nicodemus and Jesus patiently brought clarity. There was a woman ready to be executed for her sin, and Jesus intervened and lovingly released her as He gave her the secret to living in freedom. There was a woman at a well that any respectable Jew would have avoided, but he noticed her and introduced her to the path to salvation and abundant living.
God notices us. Jesus exemplified this time and time again as recorded in the Gospels. I want to follow His example. I want to be His hands and feet to the world around me.
I am reminded that intention precedes attention. I need to slow down and walk intentionally so I can notice those the Lord brings into my path each day. I want them to know that there is a God in heaven who desires to bring salvation and partnership in life to those who will notice and respond to Him. I ask the Lord to make me aware of others and respond accordingly with His love ad message.
It is a privilege to do life with each of you at Crosswinds. I ask the Lord to make His face shine upon you as well as give you the ability and pause to receive His smile and reflect it to others. I ask God to continue to make us a people who notice others and respond accordingly by sharing His love and message.