The word ‘beholding’ appears in Mark 10:21 (KJ2000) “Then Jesus beholding him loved him,and said unto him, One thing you lack: go your way, sell whatsoever you have, and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.” (emphasis added to ‘beholding’)

NLT version of Mark 10:21 gives us further insight into this:

“Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. “There is still one thing you haven’t done,” he told him. “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

Thayer’s lexicon provides this definition:


1. to have (the power of) understanding

2. to discern mentally, observe, percieve, discover, understand

3. to turn the thoughts or direct the mind to a thing, to consider, contemplate, to look at, to weigh carefully, examine

The basic definition of the word “beholding” here means “to look at something in order to learn about it“.

Lace Ford writes: “...It is important to consider here that our contemporary culture fosters a feeling of insignificance…As technology has increased, the overall effect has not only failed to draw us closer but has actually spawned breeches in community and a breakdown of authentic social fabric coupled with a broad sense of isolation and loneliness, although their daily lives are spent in the midst of others.

We behold others by treating them as more than background scenery in our lives. Like in a movie the extras on the set who go unnoticed we have developed a sense of treating a majority of the people we encounter daily as just part of the background scenery of our lives paying attention to only those who we consider main characters. Our society has fractured and people seek privatized lives where we can walk directly past numerous people without even acknowledging their presence let alone their existence.

Do we truly see people the way God sees them? Do we intently look at people in order to learn about them, contemplate them, truly ‘behold’ them or treat them as scenery in our lives?

Lance Ford co-author of Right Here, Right Now: Everyday Mission for Everyday People (Shapevine)
lists ideas and suggestions for forming a missional lifestyle based upon developing the perspective of beholding others.

This begins with prayer-

Pray- before leaving your home for the day, ask the Lord to open your eyes and heart to those along your path. Ask the Holy Spirit to alert you to opportunities to engage strangers with the goodness of Jesus. Pray to see the imago Dei (the image of God) in people and to see them as God does.

Practice- Be a smile-maker. Cultivate a habit of smiling and greeting others every time you have the opportunity. Be a peacemaker- speak a good word in the midst of tense situations. (I love the idea of placing smiley-face stickers in your car and places around your house, work, etc as a reminder to smile.)

At the end of your day, take inventory and consider specific moments and if you “beheld” others or viewed them as scenery.