Don’t Miss God!

Being Eyes and Ears for Those We Lead

by Kylie Lau

[4 minute read]

I remember feeling somewhat shocked when I read Mark’s account of a time the disciples didn’t recognise Jesus (Mark 6:45-56). How was it possible that they couldn’t remember what He looked like?! Before they set out for their boat trip, agreeing to rendezvous on the other side of the lake, they had witnessed Jesus miraculously feed more than five thousand people. A short while later, in the dead of night, the wind picked up and a raging storm tossed their vessel leaving them fearing for their lives. Seeing Jesus off in the distance they were terrified, thinking He was a ghost. It was only when Jesus spoke and told them not to fear that they realised it was Him, the Lord of the storm and the Lover of their souls.

It was a different story when Jesus eventually got out of the boat on the other side of the lake. There, the people “immediately recognised Him”. Ouch. The people who hadn’t seen photos of Jesus recognised Him as soon as He stepped foot on land, yet His most intimate friends and followers had failed to know it was Him.

So why didn’t the disciples recognise Him? He was not where they expected Him to be and He was doing something they didn’t expect Him to do.

As leaders, we have a position that provides a unique perspective – we get to be the eyes and ears for those we lead. We get to be the lookouts for the presence and work of God. This is a vital role because unless we are intentional about this our teams might miss the reassurance, peace, and joy that comes with recognising the Holy One in their midst.

It is so easy to be like the disciples who missed Jesus that night, though! To be one of those followers of Jesus who has apparently been doing life with Him yet can’t recognise Him when He shows up unexpectedly. How, then, do we live as leaders who don’t miss the presence and supernatural work of God?

  1. Live intimately

Walk closely with God, knowing His character and capability. Being well acquainted with the voice, nature, and ways of God will give you ways of identifying Him even if He’s doing something you haven’t seen before. You will know who is at work because you will recognise His hand.

  1. Live in the past

Glean wisdom and perspective by studying and learning from the experiences of others. While inspirational quotes on t-shirts and coffee mugs continually surround us with messages about focusing on the future, it can be easy to forget how important it is that we remember the past. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever – knowing how He has worked and who He has revealed Himself to be in the past provides invaluable clues for recognising Him today and tomorrow. Be very familiar with stories from history both ancient and recent, from others’ lives and your own, from organisations and groups including the team you lead now. (The Old Testament recounts numerous occasions when leaders told the Israelites to build stone memorials just so they wouldn’t forget God’s faithfulness!)

  1. Live expectantly

Anticipate God to work in supernatural ways and actively look for His hand at work. Ask God to open your eyes to His mercies that are new every single morning. When the night is darkest, the storm at its peak, and fear and confusion overwhelm, look carefully and patiently for His presence somewhere on the waves…or perhaps it’s somewhere you are least expecting it. Remember, you’re not looking for some thing, you’re looking for Someone.

  1. Live loudly

Call out and talk about anything and everything you see of God’s presence and activity. Even if you have only caught a whiff of something you suspect is Him, talk about it! The Psalmist reminds us to have His praise continually on our lips. Constantly talking about the work and goodness of God with other people is one of the best ways of keeping it on the forefront of our minds (and theirs).

A great leader is going to model a relationship that knows Christ personally. They will inspire those they lead with continual reminders of how God has proven Himself capable in the world around them as well as in their own contexts. They will be committed to being the eyes and ears for those they are leading by looking for and pointing out the presence and work of God in their midst. They will be vocal about what God is doing and never silent about His power.

Oh, and you know those people who recognised Jesus even though the disciples didn’t? They had heard about Jesus’ supernatural abilities and flocked expectantly to Him when He arrived on their shore, anticipating that He would do the same for them. Sometimes those who are not following God can recognise Him better than we expect them to. Boldly lead them by living intimately, in the past, expectantly, and loudly because they, too, need to know God is working among them.

Leaders, let’s serve those we lead by being their eyes and ears – ever watching, ever anticipating, and ever rejoicing in the presence and power of God.