I suppose I listen to sermons a little differently as a preacher. I listen for things that are not only true but also repeatable. As a result I remember a lot of statements made by preachers through the years. One of those comments that stuck with me through the years was a preacher’s description of how Jesus cared for people. This preacher whose name I don’t remember said that Jesus did three things to connect with people.
1. A Look – The first thing Jesus did was the most simple yet profound. In this world we have a tendency to overlook people and this was especially true in Jesus day. People who had physical problems or no family were left to beg for money from other people. They would position themselves in prominent places and plea for any gifts that people would give. I imagine that most people who had money would just ignore them after a while. They would avoid eye contact and begin to treat them as invisible people. Jesus stops and looks directly at them acknowledging their existence and worth. I think eye contact is as valuable today as it was back then.
2. A Word – Jesus not only looked at people he also spoke with them. He asks them questions and treats them as real people. In their culture only the opinions of the rich and influential mattered. Jesus stops and talks to everyone. He values people by speaking with them. When we stop and ask people about themselves it creates a sense of care and concern that runs deeper than mere words. Speak to people and listen to them.
3. A Touch – Jesus takes a cripple by the hand and lifts him up to walk. He takes a leper, who may have not felt physical touch for years, and he touched them. Obviously this has appropriate limits, but it still has value today. A handshake is a great start but it also includes a pat on the back and a hug when we are feeling down.
Too often we think of showing care for people as a time-consuming and draining task. Usually the things that matter the most are the little actions of kindness. Jesus frequently went on to heal people from whatever ailment dominated their life. I still believe that Jesus can heal people’s souls today but only if we first show the care of our Savior.