What were they looking at?
Unfortunately, only themselves.
“His heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.”
Tom Allen tells the story of a large bowl of Red Delicious apples, placed at the front end of the cafeteria line at Asbury College, a school that trains Christian leaders. The note attached read: “Take only one please, God is watching.” Well, some prankster attached a note to a tray of peanut butter cookies at the other end of the line. It read: “Take all you want. God is watching the apples!”
We laugh. Why? Because we know that God sees all things in all places, all at once. That is God’s self-revelation in scripture. He is Omnipotent, which means He is Almighty and all-powerful. God is Omnipresent meaning everywhere at all times. God is Omniscient, knows all things. Nothing can be hidden from Him.
Sometimes we forget these facts. We become like the leaders of the people in the time of Jeremiah. They stood there looking at themselves, taking care of their needs, and forgetting their responsibilities; the fact that they were to be representatives and models of God living among His people. They looked at themselves and forgot that God was right there, knew their hearts, and was looking at them.
Christians do forget that their Father knows everything equally and effortlessly. This truth often fails to be in the front of our hearts and minds, slipping out of our conscious thought.
Our culture has dethroned God, shrunk Him down to size so to speak, and has little or no time for His All-seeing, holy Presence. We live among people who can only think of ways to limit God’s claim on their lives, or justify their ignoring His call.
We need to focus our efforts starting with our lives. We need to put God ever in our hearts and minds. We need to recognize His presence in our lives. Remember that He knows all we think, feel and do.
Next, we are to do as Jesus did in today’s Gospel. We are to look beyond our needs to the needs of those around us. We are to respond, even when we have other plans, even when it is inconvenient. We are to be good shepherds leading people to God by our responsiveness, our words and actions. Know God’s presence, see it then act on it. Don’t be afraid because He is watching – rejoice to know He is with us in the way we love.