When you look at the birds in the sky, what do you see?

When you look at the grass, what do you think about it?

When you see a pile of gravel, what crosses your mind?

When you watch a little boy step up to the plate in a tee-ball game, do you see past the obvious?

The average person will blink 15-20 times every minute they are awake. That’s around 20,000 times per day. While that may seem like our eyes are closing a lot, the reality is the average blink only lasts one-tenth of a second, which means that unless we take a nap, our eyes are only closed for 33 minutes during the day. If you’re awake from 7:00 in the morning until 10:00 each night, that means your eyes are open for 14 hours and 27 minutes every day.

But what do you see while your eyes are open?

For many, this question might seem odd. After all, I see the cars in front of me on my morning commute. I see the coffee cup early in the morning, just before I take a sip. I see my family, co-workers, and even those in my daily life who I only know because I went into the store. I see my computer, hammer, pen/paper, or whatever else I might need to accomplish my job. In the evenings, I see my chair, the chores, and the children.

Those are the obvious answers, but I want to challenge you with this article by asking you to consider what is possible to be seen every day.

When we talk about developing a homiletical mindset, we refer not simply to the art of putting together a lesson but the ability to see applications and illustrations all around us. These open windows to the message we have spent countless hours studying and preparing often give the listener something to grab hold of and “get” the central meaning behind the points in our lesson. As a matter of fact, it’s this art of looking around us and seeing a spiritual application that Jesus regularly demonstrated during his earthly ministry.

On one such occasion, when Jesus was speaking to a gathered assembly in what is commonly referred to as the Sermon on the Mount he said,

“Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?”Matthew 6:26

He went on to say,

“Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these”Matthew 6:28

These applications make perfect sense when we stop to consider the setting, outside in the open, in which this lesson was delivered. One can only imagine what the audience would have seen after Jesus said this. The birds of the air and the lilies of the field would have been something they had seen numerous times before; however, now they would see them with a completely different meaning.

While there are times for the preacher/teacher to find that perfect story to help apply their point or the central message of their lesson, most people relate well to what they know and experience daily. That’s why it’s essential to look around to see the potential applications in everyday living. These will tend to be more relatable to our audiences and will be that window that makes the point stick in the listeners’ minds.

So…when you look at the birds of the sky, what do you see? Do you see the importance of its design in flying? Do you notice the value of the air, an entity you can see but know is present? What do you see?

When you see the little boy step up to the plate in a tee-ball game, do you see a player trying to hit the ball, or do you see one who listens to the cheers of his parents/grandparents and wants to make them proud? Do you see someone who is just figuring out the rules and needs a coach? Do you see insecurities that can be overcome with encouragement? What do you see?

Closing our eyes is a part of life. We all need to sleep and blink for our health; however, our eyes are open more than they are closed in a day. Learning to see means seeing beyond the surface truly. That person is not simply on their commute. They are rushing in the pursuit of a goal. The coffee cup is a vessel to hold that which you believe is necessary for your life. The children aren’t just another aspect of your day. They are your mission field.

Developing a homiletical mindset is about seeing beyond the surface. At times, it will feel like you’re stretching the possible applications; however, I want to encourage you to begin looking for the spiritual applications that are all around you. The ones that are stretched will become apparent – don’t use those. However, the more natural ones will be such a blessing to those who listen to your lessons.

Joe Wells
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Joe Wells holds an earned B.S. degree in Science along with a completion certificate from the Nashville School of Preaching and Biblical Studies and a Masters of Ministry degree from Freed Hardeman University. Joe travels the country as a frequent speaker for youth and family events, men’s days, as well as gospel meetings. He is the co-founder of Kaio Publications, publishers of the Family Devotional series as well as the Finer Grounds Bible Study series for women. Joe is also the author of the book Complete: Becoming the Man God Purposes You to Be and Game Plan: Developing a Spiritually Winning Strategy for Adults and Teens in Today’s Culture. Along with this, he and Erin are the co-host of The Hey Joe Show, a podcast designed to challenge and strengthen families and teens across America. Joe has served God in a public way since 2000 in the capacity of youth minister and gospel preacher, helping people make the connection with the Word of God and encouraging them to be transformed for Christ. He is blessed to the husband to the former Erin O’Hara, and they are the proud parents of four beautiful children: Colton, Michala, Camden, and Bennett.