The preacher was once asked by a friend: "What's your secret? How do you stay focused on personal evangelism day after day, week after week, year after year?"
The preacher responded by directing the man to the nearby window. He asked, "What do you see?" The man looked down on the city square and replied that he saw crowded streets. The preacher suggested that he look again. This time the man mentioned seeing people--men, women, and children. The preacher then asked him to look a third time. By now the man was getting frustrated that he was not seeing what the preacher wanted him to see. The preacher made his way to the window and said, with watery eyes, "I see people going to hell without Jesus. Until you see people like that, you will not lead them to Christ."
Let me ask you, dear listeners, when you see your neighbors, what do you see? When you see your friends what do you see? When you see your relatives, what do you see? When you see your co-workers or classmates, what do you see? When you see crowds of people, what do you see? Depending upon your perspective, you might see all sorts of things when you view these people and others. Ultimately, we must learn to see souls! And this must not be the last thing we see but the first! We must not see them first as a friend or as someone who lives next door or as a family member or as an employee or as a stranger, etc. We must see every person as a being made in God's image with an eternal spirit that will one day give an account of his or her activity before the Almighty. Why? Because that is precisely what they are and what their future will be!
In John 4:35, the Lord Jesus Christ declared to His apostles in Sychar - "Do you not say, 'There are still four months and then comes the harvest'? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!" Although the physical harvest that year was still months away, there was a great spiritual harvest to be reaped. And such is still true today for those who have eyes to see.
Oh, but Stephen, people just aren't interested in the gospel today! That is true for many, but not everyone. There are still good and honest souls searching for truth. Besides, our focus is to be on sowing the seed freely (and personally wherever we can). The apostle Paul taught that we should concern ourselves with sowing and watering the seed of God's word and leave the results up to the Lord (cf. I Cor. 3:6,7).
Are we doing that, friends? Are we trying every day to speak with someone about their soul? I believe this is an important practice to adopt, and it will help us to see people as God sees them.
Not surprisingly, this zealous preacher was often labeled "crazy." Anyone with a determined focus on the salvation of souls will probably acquire a nickname like this (or something worse). But, this sort of ridicule or persecution should be expected and embraced (cf. John 15:18ff; II Tim. 3:12). After all, we're not here to please men but God (cf. Gal. 1:10).
The lost are everywhere, but do you see them? More importantly, what are you doing about it today?