“It’s amazing what you can see when you just sit quietly and look.” (Jacqueline Kelly)
To look at something means to direct one’s gaze in a specific direction in order to see something or someone. It is more than a casual glance. Looking is about examining something in order to see and comprehend.
Jesus often asked people to look. When he said, “Behold”, he was directing people to pause and give careful consideration to what he was pointing at.
“Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.” (John 4:35)
Look and stop
It is not always easy to see what is directly in front of us because we are preoccupied with other things and distracted. In order to see what is before us we must stop. We can take a glance while on the move, but we can only look when we stop. The crowd were surrounded by harvest fields and yet were oblivious to them. So Jesus had to tell them to look. In a world of 7.5 billion people, we are surrounded by harvest fields, yet we cannot see it. Stop and take a look at the harvest field of the world around us.
Look and survey
It is possible to look at something but not see it. When Jesus directed the crowd to look at the fields, he was not asking them to take a cursory glance. He was inviting them to take a good look at the surrounding fields and to survey them. They were not just fields, but fields ready for harvesting. Perhaps we have become so accustomed to the world around us that we no longer perceive the opportunity before us. Take a good look at the world, both on our doorstep and across the globe, and survey the opportunities for mission.
Look and see
In the Bible, to see means to perceive and discern something. It means, ‘to get it’. Unlike those who, “see but never perceive” (Isaiah 6:9) Jesus was calling the crowd to look and see what he could see. Not just fields, but fields ready for harvest. The field is the world, full of people who need to hear the gospel and are waiting for someone to come to them with the message. We would do well to look at our world again and see what God sees. See the multitudes waiting for someone to go to them with the message of Christ.
“Nothing is so often irretrievably missed as a daily opportunity.” (Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach) The field of the world around us is waiting for missionaries and ready for harvest. Look, I tell you. Lift up your eyes and see it.