Rev. Steven C. Burbee
Pastor of La Monte United Methodist Church
“What you see is what you get!” I used to think that it was a way to tell people that I was a person without guile, authentic, true. I’ve also heard it used to excuse bad behavior, usually accompanied by some reference to “just being one’s self.” It has been used to supplement the “buyers beware” warning.
But what if we were to think of it as descriptive of the human experience, that it tells us that we will get what we are looking for, whether it’s trouble, excitement, or the Kingdom of God?
Jesus said, “Seek first the kingdom of God and God’s righteousness, and all these things (the necessities of life) will be added unto you.”
Maybe we should remember that we see most, but not all, of what we are looking at and paying attention to. Oddly enough, those two things don’t always go together, like when a man, with lust in his heart looks at a woman and sees attractively arranged flesh, but fails to hear what she has to say or perceive her as one who was created in God’s image and for whom Jesus died on a cross.
Maybe this is what Jesus was talking about when he talked about those who have eyes and yet fail to see; and the reference to the Pharisees as ‘blind guides.’ It’s not like we don’t have all kinds of hints in our culture such as keep your eye on the ball.
We tend to see what we are looking for, so, for example, if all we are looking for is a well-paying job, we might miss an opportunity to work at something that could change the world instead. If all we are looking for is a mate with attractive packaging, we shouldn’t be surprised if we end up with a marriage of appearances and no heart. If we look for the ways that people are trying to offend, deceive, steal or hurt us, we may perceive our world as full of offensive, lying, dangerous thieves, or maybe even creating some of these things out of nothing, a task that should generally be left to God.
What are you looking for? Happiness, wealth, power, respect or even just a good time? Then consider this: Jesus offers you not happiness, but rather joy, which is made of much sterner stuff. If you seek wealth, consider that Jesus offers us not only what we need, such as the Lillies of the Field, but treasure that cannot be taken away.
If you seek power, consider that Jesus offers us instead faith that can heal, move mountains and sustain us with a word. If you seek respect, consider that Jesus offers you instead a love so deep that He gave His life on a cross so that we might have the chance to receive it. If you are looking for a good time, I would note that nowhere in all of Scripture is there any mention of a party of any kind in hell. It does, however, say that every time a lost soul is found, there is a celebration in heaven. Where do you think a good time will be found?
Brandon Heath performs a song, “Give Me Your Eyes,” in which he asks God to let him see the people around him as God would see them. Through the eyes of Jesus, a prostitute, a tax collector, a leper, a rebel,, and even a naked, smelly, demon-possessed fugitive are people to love and die for, and that means there might be hope for me.
I guess I’m hoping that there is more to life and faith than what I can see, because I know how easy it is to be looking the ‘wrong way’ and miss something really important.
Hoping that God will continue to open my eyes.