Maybe I’m just too sensitive, but I always feel a little sheepish when I walk into a store, knowing I’m not going to buy anything. I’ll just be browsing and, you know, some bored salesperson stands up and starts moving my direction. Maybe what makes me feel bad is her look of hope, of expectancy, of “at last I can justify my existence” – “at last I can accomplish what I’m here to do.” So the salesperson pleasantly asks, “May I help you?” To which I answer with the two most hated words in the life of a salesperson, “Just looking.” I am such a disappointment.
Well, I’m Ron Hutchcraft, and I want to have A Word With You today about “The Problem With ‘Just Looking.'”
It’s not just sales people who are bothered by folks who are “just looking.” Jesus is troubled by people – often people like you and me – who aren’t interested in buying spiritually. They’re “just looking.” Like the people in our word for today from the Word of God in John 9:13.
Now, this follows Jesus’ amazing miracle of healing a man who had been blind from birth. It should have been amazing to the religious leaders, the Pharisees. But all they could see was that Jesus had healed the man on the Sabbath – which they considered a violation of their laws.
The Bible says, “They brought to the Pharisees the man who had been born blind. Now the day on which Jesus had made the mud and opened the man’s eyes was a Sabbath. Therefore, the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. ‘He put mud on my eyes,’ the man replied, ‘and I washed, and now I see.” Awesome, huh? Not to the Pharisees. No. Their reaction? “Some of the Pharisees said, ‘This man is not from God, for He does not keep the Sabbath.'”
Obviously men – very religious men – have no intention of buying into what Jesus is doing here. They’re just looking. Actually, everywhere Jesus did miracles there seemed to be two groups – the expecters – who are looking for Jesus to do something, and the disecters – who are just looking at what Jesus is doing. What bothers me is that the disecters were the religious folks, the spiritual veterans. Like me – maybe you. They were always so busy analyzing what Jesus was doing they missed what Jesus was doing. That could be happening to you and me.
As you get more settled into Christian things, as you know more Christian ideas, as you do more Christian activity, this subtle numbness starts to creep in. You go to church, not so much to have God speak to you but to watch God speak to others. You make spiritual events happen but you seldom let them happen to you. You start to become a discusser of God’s working rather than an experiencer of God at work. You start to become critical of other leaders and other methods.
Can you feel maybe a creeping sleep in your soul? Somewhere you stepped out of the middle of God’s life-changing work and you moved to the edges to watch, to analyze, to categorize, to criticize, or to help it happen. And it’s cold out there, isn’t it? You show up at Jesus’ store, you look around, but you don’t buy into the wonder of it all. The great revivalist Gipsy Smith started preaching when he was 17 and he quit when he was 82 – because he died. When people used to ask him why he was as excited and passionate in his preaching as he was as a young man, he simply said, “I have never lost the wonder.”
Maybe you have. It’s time to get back into the mainstream where the miracles are…where the powerful works of God are. Drop your analyzer’s detachment. Get back to your original love, your original excitement about Jesus. Let God happen to you again! When Jesus is offering such supernatural merchandise, it would be a shame if you’re just on the edges “just looking.”