Do You Want Be Seen or to See?

Here is the latest article I’ve written for the Fellowship Reformed Church (Holland, MI) eNewsletter…

“Do you want to be seen or to see?” asked the young salesperson at a local bike shop when I was shopping for a headlight for my bike.  I’ve been considering commuting by bike and wanted to make sure that people driving vehicles would see me on those darker mornings of the Spring and Fall. So, my initial response was that I wanted to be seen.

We walked over to a free-standing display filled with various headlights and tail lights for bikes. Prices ranged from $15 to over $400. We looked at the lower priced lights that would help me be seen, and I discovered that they were simply flashing white LED lights that would draw the eyes of drivers so they would be able to see me.

The salesperson, with disregard for my initial response, also showed me the light he uses for riding mountain bike trails at night. It was over $400 and had a large external battery pack that could mount on the frame of the bike.  He said the light was brighter than a car headlight and was blinding to onlookers. This caused me to pause and reflect.  If I made the decision not just to be seen, but to see, I would also be seen as a result.  It was really like getting two lights for the price of one.

I explained that I would simply be riding on bike paths in the area and didn’t feel I needed such an extreme light. So, we settled on a much more modest light (and price) that will allow me not only to be seen, but to see ahead on the path as well.

As I listened to Pastor Marijke preach this past Sunday, I thought the members of the early church in Philippi must have treasured being seen by Paul as he said, “I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you.” (Philippians 1:3-4 NRSV)

Paul saw these Christians and gave thanks for them because they were learning to see through hearing the gospel and having their lives, individually and and as a community, transformed into the image of Christ.

I have a small sense of what Paul must have felt.  I have had so many opportunities to see the members of this church serving inside and outside of the building with enthusiasm, passion, and faithfulness. I, too, thank my God every time I think of you.

And it’s not just about being seen.  It’s about seeing.

What might it look like for you to see the work God is doing in those around you and then respond with a joyful prayer of thanks? I have a hunch, as a result, you will also be seen because sincere gratitude from the gut can’t be hidden.