Can You See Jesus?

Someday your heart will be asking, What will He do with me?

I grew up singing those words, the closing of a song entitled, What Will You Do With Jesus?   I hadn’t thought about the song for a few decades.

A Catholic priest brought it to mind again today.  I wish I could remember his name.  I saw his words in print for a few seconds.  The words are burned into my brain; his name, unfortunately, is not.

When you look at the refugees, can you see Jesus?

The news and social media have been full of the stories for the last few weeks.  Refugees from the ethnic and religious purging in Syria have been displaced into surrounding Middle Eastern countries, a process which began almost four years ago.  Now, they are pouring into Europe by the hundreds of thousands.  There seems to be no end in sight for the crisis.

Over the last few days, I have seen many individuals claiming that it is our national responsibility to take in a large number of these refugees.  The argument is that as Christians, we must do our part.  

What would Jesus do?

I won’t argue with them.  Time will tell what is to be done there.  

I have bigger problems.

Or possibly, smaller ones.

I don’t want to talk about the millions of refugees.  I don’t want to discuss the millions of babies being slaughtered by abortion.  I don’t want to argue about which ethnic or civil group’s lives matter.

You think me cold?  Insensitive?  

I’m not.

It’s important to tackle the larger issues facing us as a nation—as a world—as people of faith.  The problem is that, too often, our participation in that discussion is a cop-out.

You see, for most of us it’s just that—a discussion.  

We talk.  We get angry.  We get self-righteous.  

But, we never get dirty.  Our hands never once touch the people who need a human touch.  All we want to do is to make our point and win the debate.

And, when the government agencies have done their part, when the monies designated to give relief are delivered, when the temporary housing has been fabricated, we will breath a sign of relief and, with one last self-righteous toss of our heads, we’ll turn again to our clean, sterile lives.

We talk a good game, don’t we?

After all, that’s what the Teacher commended His good servants for, wasn’t it?

I was naked, and you gave money to UNICEF.  I was sick and you checked to see where Doctors Without Borders were docking next.  I was in prison and you signed petitions to the government for my release.

What?  You don’t like my paraphrase?

Millions of refugees in the Middle East?  Easy-peasy!

African-American brothers and sisters seeking justice in urban areas?  You have my full support!

I read the words I have written and realize it seems as if I think we should abandon our concern for a world in need.  I don’t.

I don’t!

goodsamaritanBut, what I know—know beyond any argument—is that we have been given tasks which require our hands to get dirty.  When we finish the task we’ve been assigned, we will stink.

We don’t get to stand, like some politician who has just blinded the opposition with his brilliant rhetoric, clasping our hands above our heads in victory.

We get to stand, dejected in the rain as the ambulance pulls away, because the drug addict we tried to help just overdosed and lost her battle with the demons inside—and outside—her.  

We get to sit on the edge of our elderly neighbor’s front porch, sweaty and exhausted, and look over the neatly trimmed landscape we’ve just finished mowing.  After we had already done our own lawn.

We get to spend our Sunday afternoon with that young lady who has a black eye, finding a shelter for her and helping to fill out police reports.

We get to stand with an arm around the drunk man in the emergency room waiting area as, down the hall, his wife fights for her life after a failed suicide attempt.

The opportunities will never end.  The people who need our touch—our touch, not our words—will stretch out from here to the end of our lives.

Because every single one of them looks like Jesus to us.  Every single one of them.

The priest had the right idea.  

And the Teacher said, “If you’ve done it to the least of these, you’ve done it to me.

The words still echo in my head.  Forty years since I last sang them, and certainly with a different perspective, they still echo.

What will you do with Jesus?



Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing?  When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’
(Matthew 25:37-40 ~ NLT)


Jesus is standing in Pilate’s hall,
Friendless, forsaken, betrayed by all;
Hearken! what meaneth the sudden call?
What will you do with Jesus?

What will you do with Jesus?
Neutral you cannot be;
Someday your heart will be asking,
“What will He do with me?”
(A B Simpson ~ Canadian theologian ~ 1843-1919)




© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2015. All Rights Reserved. 

3 thoughts on “Can You See Jesus?

  1. I get it,by all means we must help the women, children and elderly. But the photos of thousands of able bodied men flooding in disturbs me. I pray we don’t rue the day we did not handle this better regarding those able bodied younger men.
    Time will tell.

  2. Paul, your article certainly goes to the heart of our call as Christians to minister the love life to all of our neighbors, near and far. Not long ago, I was personally convicted and drawn to come to grips with the fact that love is not simply a conversation, but obligates itself to real down to earth caring, especially to the least among us. Thank you for highlighting the need for hands on ministry to our conscience once again.

    1. Thanks for your note, Jerome! There is nothing wrong with talking about doing right, but we eventually have to put feet to our convictions. I appreciate you taking time to read and to encourage with your comment! Blessings!

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