Posts

Open Eyes - Prov. 22:9, 28:27; John 4:34-36

Even someone with an open heart will miss open doors if they don’t have open eyes. Now, the eyes and the heart work together: an open heart should move you to open your eyes. But while they’re meant to work together, sometimes they can function independently. The open heart desires to help, but that doesn’t mean that the eyes automatically see a need! And we need to make this distinction so that we don’t give somebody heart medicine when they need eyedrops. The open heart is about affection; open eyes are dealing with information, and so the gospel needs to work on your eyes in addition to your heart. You need gospel awareness just as much as you need gospel affection.

Proverbs 22:9 and 28:27 present two sides of the same coin when it comes to your eyes. A bountiful eye, a wide-open eye, leads to blessing, but whoever hides his eyes or closes his eyes will get many a curse. Open eyes: blessings. Closed eyes: curses. That’s biblical motivation for opening your eyes, and a warning against closing them! And the burden of both proverbs deals with material need, so you must not lose sight of this very practical application: open your eyes to the poor, and meet their needs!

But I also want to focus our attention on the poor in Spirit, who need to be fed with another kind of bread: they need the bread of life from heaven! John 4:34-36 ties both the physical and spiritual need for bread together. Jesus and the disciples were hungry, and so the disciples went to get bread. Meanwhile, Jesus met the woman at the well, and saved her soul. When the disciples came back with lunch, Jesus was full of joy because He had eaten heavenly food with this woman.

And in the midst our efforts to get our daily bread, Jesus has this exhortation for us: “Look!” Jesus says, “There are people who need the gospel all around you! Lift up your eyes! Don’t miss them because of your routine of eat/work/sleep/repeat! Gather fruit for eternal life, so that you both may rejoice together.” Shared joy is the glorious motivation for those who open their eyes to the harvest. We should be starving for some of that joy, and our hunger should prompt us to open our eyes! Many of you know the joy of satisfying physical hunger with a good meal, but that joy doesn’t even compare with the joy of feeding someone on the bread of life; the joy of seeing a sinner saved by the grace of God. So if you want that joy, then open your eyes and look for those who don’t have that bread.

And as we open our eyes to pursue that joy together, here are five things to help us on the way. First, repent of closed eyes. Ask God’s forgiveness for those times when selfishness has caused you to avert your eyes, or when laziness has allowed your eyelids to droop so that you never saw the person right in front of you who needed the gospel.

Second, remember God’s eyes for you. God loved you in creation, but because He kept a close eye on you, He saw your fall into sin and your need for a Savior, and so He sent Jesus. God’s eyes are open to you; open your eyes, also!

Third, pray for open eyes. Ask God to open your eyes to the people who cross your path every day, so that you see them not just as neighbors or workers or citizens, but as people in spiritual poverty with whom you can share the bread of life.

Fourth, open your eyes and identify others who need the gospel. I encourage you to start with five categories: Open your eyes and find someone where you work, someone in your family, someone in your neighborhood, someone at a place you regularly shop, and someone where you regularly go for recreation. Pray for them, and keep your eyes open for any opportunity to share your bread with them.

Fifth, see Jesus in your neighbor. Last week, we heard that because Jesus died for us, we no longer live for ourselves, but for Him. This means that when we look around with open eyes, we are looking to see Christ in our neighbors, and when we serve them, we are serving Christ. And this is what keeps us from quitting or giving up when our neighbor proves to be resistant to the gospel. We aren’t discouraged by that, because we aren’t living for them or their approval. We’re living for Christ, who hides Himself in our neighbors. And if sometimes we have trouble seeing Jesus in our neighbors, well, that’s why we need Jesus to open our eyes.

Posted on Wednesday, November 14, 2018 by CJ Bowen