As a blind beggar his whole life, he was used to being ignored, but at least he had a loud voice. It was his only chance of survival on the streets. Even so, many no longer heard him as they rushed through their busy day.
Twelve long years she suffered a health condition that isolated her from her family and friends. She was “unclean,” and must have done something to deserve God’s judgment. So she was forgotten, invisible to the crowds around her.
He was chained to walls for everyone’s safety, but he broke the chains. Fortunately for the townspeople, the demons in him preferred the lonely tombs of the dead over the community of the living.
Their giggles and energy could not be contained. “Quiet!” someone said, “Take those kids somewhere else to play so they aren’t a distraction! We don’t have time for this!”
But then Jesus came.
Bartimaeus shouted like his sight depended on it, and Jesus said, “Bring him to me!”
The woman stretched out her hand through the crowds, her finger barely brushing the hem of His robe. And Jesus stopped, and said, “Who touched me?”
In a desperate attempt at one more chance at life, the demon-possessed man fought hard against his demons and ran toward the man on the lakeshore. And Jesus waited for him. Instead of running, He made the demons run.
The moms gathered their kids to take them home, embarrassed. But Jesus said, “Let them come to me!”
Jesus noticed people. Whoever was with Him knew that He really saw them, that they mattered—to Him and to God. Jesus would not let anything get in the way of connecting a person with their God.
Is there anything getting in the way of you truly connecting with the people around you? Supporting and encouraging people online or by texting is helpful and needed sometimes, but what about those who are within 20 feet or less of you? Do they know that they matter to you and to God? There is nothing more powerful than the gift of presence: slowing down, giving eye-contact (when culturally appropriate), comprehending and reflecting on what is said more than your response. That kind of gift reminds people of Jesus, because He is really good at that.
*Twice a month, we send out a short devotional to our volunteers. This was written and sent out by Andrea Keele on August 26, 2014.