I enjoy people watching. If you can say the same thing, then you know what I’m talking about—taking a moment to sit and look around as people pass by on a busy day at the park, the airport, or maybe even the coffee shop. We may wonder, “What is their story?” If you are not a fan of people watching, maybe you can still relate to it when you stand beside someone in an elevator or behind a couple in a checkout line as you assess the items in their cart and wonder what they’re up to tonight with ten frozen meals, a six-pack of beer, and a tube of diaper cream.

Wouldn’t it be great to have a Google Lens available to search this snapshot we have been given in real time? But before we get too carried away with watching someone else, it is vital that we first look at ourselves. Instead of using a Google Lens to look at ourselves, however, we’ll use the lens of God’s Word. When we see ourselves as God sees us, then and only then can we look at others properly. What if, instead of just watching people, we put ourselves in positions of seeing people as God sees us? Ephesians 2:6-10 reveals God’s intentions and great plans for us: “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Did you catch what the apostle Paul said at the beginning of the passage? “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6). Yes, you and I are raised with Jesus and seated with him in heaven! We are alive not only now, but also in the hereafter. We have something better to look forward to in our lives, and it is already won and done in Christ Jesus. Not only am I going to live with him, but I will reign with him! We are God’s workmanship, made to share what we’ve become in Jesus. All who believe are alive in Christ Jesus!
Now, trusting what we are through Jesus, we can engage in people watching. But even more striking is that people are watching us, whether they like to people watch or not. People are watching you and me. This beautiful gift of life that we have been given is reflected by believers. What about those who don’t know Jesus? Those who don’t know or trust in our Savior are, in fact, spiritually dead. We don’t have the ability to see into people’s hearts as God can, so we can’t say with certainty, “I see dead people.” If we believers are asked the question—“Do you talk to dead people?”—I think we’d have to admit we talk to “dead” people daily. What do these “walking dead” see reflected in us? Are we letting the “dead” pass by us or are we, as God’s workmanship, taking the opportunity to show God’s love to them? 

Being part of God’s story doesn’t mean that we are perfect—far from it! We are alive by God’s grace. It is by his grace God uses imperfect people to share his perfect love with others. He sent Jesus to be perfect for us. Don’t lose sight of the perfection that he has bestowed upon us in his grace and mercy. He has equipped us with all that we need in Christ Jesus to do good works! God doesn’t hide his work but sends you and me out into the world for all to see and be blessed by what he has done. What are those good works? The good works we do are directed by God’s will in his Word; they have been “prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10). We get to meet people where they are and share with them where Jesus meets us! We get to ask them to share their story. We go beyond people watching and become active listeners to people who are the souls God has placed before us and connected to us by the blood bonds of our Savior.

We don’t have to wonder, “What’s their story?” We get to hear their story and share how God’s story has changed our lives. It is through relationships that we get to share our faith and let others see how God has not only raised us up with Christ and given us a seat in the heavenly realms, but that there is a seat for them there as well through faith in Jesus!
What does it mean to take the seat Jesus has earned for you? It means not only to watch people, if that is your pastime, but really to see your story and their story through Jesus’ eyes. Take an active part of being the hands, feet, and mouth of the God that calls to the spiritually dead with his grace and makes them alive. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:8-10).


Let us pray:
God of mercy and grace, we deserved to remain objects of your wrath and yet in your rich mercy, you made us alive with Christ! Thank you for this grace! Let us live our lives in thanksgiving to you as we see ourselves as your workmanship. Your hands created us in Christ Jesus to do good works. Please continue to give us your wisdom and resolve to always remember that you, our mighty God, prepared the way in advance. Let us witness in confidence and be filled with the Holy Spirit. Encourage us as we look forward to the day when we will reign in heaven with Christ, and allow us to be filled with joy in having our Savior reign in our hearts right now.  Amen.

Alicia Manning