“You will be ever seeing, but not perceiving…” Matthew 13:14
A few months ago, it was time to replace our car. We live in League City, Texas (outside Houston). So I was thinking pickup truck or big SUV. You know, something “Texan.”
Susan was thinking of something a little different. She was thinking “Subaru.”
I tried to set her straight. I told her, “Texans don’t drive Subarus. Texans drive F-150s and Tahoes and vehicles like that. People in Vermont drive Subarus. People in Seattle drive Subarus. But not Texans!” (O.K., maybe some people in Austin drive Subarus. But they moved here from California.) I concluded my argument with, “I NEVER see people driving Subarus around here.”
Well, we talked it over. But you already know how this decision-making process ended up.
We got the Subaru. A Forester.
And then the strangest thing happened. Evidently on the very same day we picked up our Subaru, thousands of other Houstonians did the same. I mean, one day NO ONE is driving Subarus around and the next day there are THOUSANDS driving around! Subarus suddenly seemed to be everywhere!
What could account for this sudden influx of so many Subarus??
The answer, of course, is that the Subarus had always been there. I had looked straight at them every day driving up and down our roads. I just hadn’t SEEN them. I saw pickup trucks and SUVs and Camaros (nope, I didn’t get to have one of those either). But once I bought a Subaru myself, all of a sudden my eyes were finally seeing what they had been looking at all along. Turns out a lot of Houstonians drive Subarus. And now that I was looking for them, I was seeing them, too.
Not seeing what we are looking at. It’s really pretty common for us humans. Something is visible. It’s there. But we don’t “see” it.
…maybe it’s because we don’t have a framework for understanding what we are looking at… or we undervalue what we are looking at and, so, look right through it… or we are misinformed or misled about what we are looking at… or we weren’t expecting to see what we are looking at in the first place and so we do not see it now.
Whatever the cause, the outcome is the same: we don’t see what we’re looking at.
And for those of us who are aspiring to “seek the Kingdom of God” every day so we can join Jesus on His mission, that can be a problem. We end up being like the guy Jesus warns about in Matthew 13 who is ever seeing the Kingdom but not recognizing what he is looking at.
…maybe it’s because the guy doesn’t have a framework for understanding what he’s looking at… or he undervalues what he’s looking at and, so, looks right through it… or he’s misinformed or misled about what he’s looking at… or he wasn’t expecting to see what he is looking at in the first place and so he doesn’t see it now.
But that doesn’t mean it isn’t there. It doesn’t mean it isn’t visible. And it doesn’t mean Jesus intends for him to overlook it.
I don’t want to be that guy. Do you?
So, how do we start to see what we are looking at? It starts with knowing what we are looking FOR. In the story earlier, when I knew what I was looking FOR – a Subaru – I started to see what I had already been looking AT. Turns out, Subarus were already all around me. Likewise, what Jesus tells us to look FOR in the gospels will help us to recognize what we have been looking AT all along… the Kingdom of God breaking in.
Want to see the Kingdom of God all around you? Jesus says to look for the little people – the least of these, the overlooked, the undervalued, the judged, the rejected, the young, the old, the neighbor, the coworker, the friend, the family member – and look for the little opportunities to love them, bless them, and treat them better than they deserve. This is the “good” the Father is preparing in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:8-10). This is the Kingdom breaking into the realm of the visible.
Do you see it now?
Jesus says if you look for the Kingdom you will see it. Because it is all around you. It is already prepared. It is already in motion. It is already visible. It is already seeking to get your attention.
Perceiving the Kingdom happens when you see the people nearby who need someone like you to notice.
Turns out, there’s a lot to see. And the more you look, the more you’ll see. And the more you see, the more He will be able to show you.
Today could be a very exciting day for you… and the people around you… because the Kingdom of God is at hand.
Then Jesus said, “Open your eyes and look. Seek and you will find. Do you see anything now?” (John 4:35, Matthew 7:7, Mark 8:23)