Being a Kingdom Laborer means spreading the Word of God and sharing the love of Jesus with others, including unbelievers.
Growing up I was incredibly shy and awkward. Not exactly a recipe for making friends or being popular. Needless to say, I was lonely. I often felt invisible, almost like if I were to disappear no one would even notice—or care.
I remember lunch and recess being the worst. It was the time of the day that most highlighted my loneliness. Sitting alone at lunch, quietly eating, I had no one to talk to. Then later, I would be walking around at recess quietly, with no one to play with. It was terrible. I remember feeling trapped by my own shyness. I wanted to make friends; I just didn’t know how.
Looking back on these memories, I know now what I really needed was for someone to see me. As a kid, I remember pleading in my thoughts with those who walked past my empty lunch table to “PLEASE, just see me.”
We often think that sharing the love of Jesus is an incredibly difficult or complicated act. I couldn’t disagree more. I think sharing the love of Jesus is actually rather simple, as simple as taking the time to see someone. Jesus did that.
Just look at the story of Zacchaeus in Luke 19. It perfectly illustrates how Jesus loved.
“Jesus entered Jericho and made His way through the town. There was a man there named Zacchaeus. He was the chief tax collector in the region, and he had become very rich. He tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree beside the road, for Jesus was going to pass that way.
When Jesus came by, He looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. ’Zacchaeus!’ He said. ’Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.’ Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy.” (Luke 19: 1-6).
Take note of Jesus’ actions. First, He saw Zacchaeus up in the tree. I imagine this wouldn’t have happened by accident, Jesus had to be intentional. If we are going to learn how to share the love of Jesus, we also need to become people who intentionally see others. I wonder how my life may have been different if someone had been intentional about looking for an invisible person like me.
Then Jesus stopped. He didn’t just see Zacchaeus and keep going, He stopped and called out to him. How many of us have eyes to see people in need of the love of Jesus around us, but just refuse to stop? I wonder how many of my peers refused to stop for me?
Even still, I have been there. I once found myself driving by a man with a cardboard sign that read, “Anything Helps, God Bless.” I saw him – even read his sign, but I was on my way to a meeting. I figured I didn’t have the time to stop. I think God felt differently. As soon as I passed the man, I sensed God asking me to pull over and talk to him. I argued with God about how I needed to be on time for my meeting. I felt that God insisted. I needed to stop. So, I pulled a U-turn, parked my car, and began walking over to the man. I didn’t have any cash or food in my car. I thought to myself, this guy is going to think I am CRAZY! Surly, no one has ever approached him empty handed! I was nervous. After all, I am still that same awkward kid who had no friends. Soon I was standing right in front of him. With all of the confidence I could muster I reached out my hand and said, “Hi, my name is Nathan.” In a gruff, but friendly voice he replied, “I’m Walt.” Over the course of the next few minutes, Walt and I chatted about his life and story. As our conversation drew to a close, I shared I had come empty handed, but I would be happy to pray for him, if he would allow. Walt replied, “Sure.” After that we parted ways, but over the course of the next few months, I frequently saw Walt on my commute. I continued to get out and spend time with him. I began to plan on our encounters and would bring Walt food, water, and other supplies. Over time we built a relationship, and I continued to share the love and Good News of Jesus. We became friends. He heard about Jesus, and it all happened because I took the time to stop and spend some time with him.
I learned it all from Jesus. Jesus did the same with Zacchaeus. He saw, stopped, and spent time with him. As a result, Zacchaeus’ life was forever changed (See Luke 19:8-10).
Learning how to share the love of Jesus is as simple as looking at what Jesus did to love people. If we are willing to open our eyes a little wider, slow down a little, and invest some time in those around us, we may be amazed at how simple it becomes to share the love of Jesus.