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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Art (01/18/07)

TITLE: Seeing the Mountains
By Elizabeth Burton
01/24/07


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Eyes wide, the children followed their teacher from painting to painting. The museum’s tour guide spoke of brush strokes and historical trends, but the children took in none of it. They were more interested in what was portrayed than how: the characters’ poses, the trees in the distance, a white dog peeking out of the corner of a masterpiece. As the group moved on to a display of sculptures, a tiny girl in white lagged behind, intrigued by a Modernist landscape. “That picture’s wrong,” she told the parent who took her hand, wanting to keep the group together. “I don’t think that man ever really SAW the mountains.”

Like an artist’s paintbrush, our attitudes and actions show how we see the world. And as the little girl observed, that view sometimes bears little resemblance to reality. For Christians, it’s important to realize that our attitudes and actions also influence how the world perceives Jesus. For example, when a non-Christian friend hears us say how sorry we feel for a widow who seems lost in her grief, but then notices that we never invite the woman over for a meal, is she seeing the real Savior or merely a washed-out imitation?

The first need every individual has, of course, is that of salvation. But beyond that, Jesus taught that Christians have a responsibility to meet the needs of those living on the margins of society. It was to these individuals that Jesus intentionally directed much of his life and ministry. They were specifically identified as being among the “blessed” in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5:3-10) and He proclaimed that He had come to bring them good news in His first sermon at Nazareth (Luke 4:17-8). When His disciples came to ask whether He was indeed the Messiah, they found Him ministering among the poor (Luke 7:20-1). It’s obvious that Jesus was someone who could truly see the needs of those He encountered.

In describing the ultimate judging of the nations in Matthew 25, Jesus told the disciples that through meeting the physical and emotional needs of the people around them, they would show His love to the world:

“’Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’” (NKJV)

Following His lead, the early church continued to reach out to those who were poor, disabled, or otherwise unable to meet their basic needs. Throughout the book of Acts, the church leaders actively worked to help those less fortunate. They gathered the personal resources of people in the church to meet material needs of their own members (2:44-5; and ch. 4), they started social programs to meet the needs of widows and the poor (ch. 5, 6) and even sent famine relief to other churches (11:27-30).

For Christians today, there are more demands on our time and money than ever. The way Jesus has called us to live, however, hasn’t changed. His message is one of personal salvation, personal change, and personal ministry. His example is one of personal involvement in the lives of others, especially those who live on the margins of society.

When people see Jesus in us, do they see a “wrong” picture like the little girl in the museum? Or do they see someone who really has SEEN the mountains?


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Member Comments
Member Date
Donna Emery01/27/07
Wow! Definitely right on target and a very good insight into human nature. Great take on the topic. Good job.
terri tiffany01/29/07
This was a terrific devotional!! I loved especially how you gave that example and drew us back at the ending!! Nice writing! I wouldn't change a thing:)