The Look That Hurts and Heals

Guest post by Trenton Dockery

When is the last time you looked in the eyes of someone who was unable to feed themselves? Maybe it was yesterday or a year ago. Trust me, in certain areas I understand if you have put yourself on a jet-line from one destination to another, not wanting to make eye contact with the people you pass by. But if you can think back, hunger and thirst have a look. As a matter of fact, when someone is in true need there are no words to describe what resonates when you see them.

I imagine that is what moved Jesus to respond lovingly to the man seeking to inherit eternal life. I love the Markan version here, because it includes the heart of Jesus in a way the other Gospel writers don’t. In the beginning of Mark 10:21, it says that Jesus “looked at him and loved him.” In love, Jesus gives him a personal word and not the generic ones that typical Jewish men would know. He looked beyond the surface to see into the man’s heart. In other words, Jesus showed him with his command to sell all his possessions to the poor for a treasure in heaven that his heart was tied to his wealth. But there was something about this man and his wealth – maybe it was how hard he worked for it, or the status he carried as a man with means. But remember how he got there; he ran and fell at Jesus’ feet asking how he can receive eternal life (Mark 10:17). It’s ironic that what Jesus knows will free him is the very thing he is unable to give. He walked away, sad at the idea of giving up all he was.

Family, Jesus has a standard. In love, Christ seeks out what’s not from Him in us and wants to release it from us. He sees the hunger in our eyes when we believe something in this temporary world will satisfy us fully. His love draws us, and just like that man, we want freedom. But Christ will not take what we know won’t fill us from us unless we give it. And in turn, when we find that satisfaction we are given an invaluable gift. We can see the hunger in others and can point them in God’s direction: the friend on your job that hopelessly looks for relationship … your buddy at the gym that struggles with their purpose … your sibling that has regrets about their past. They may walk away when you lovingly look on them and share with them what they need to give up to receive satisfaction from the Lord Jesus. Pray for them! Walk with them! And know that in due season, they will receive what you have, and be filled totally from the Lord.

Trenton Dockery