SEEKING THE LOST
Imagine coming across someone who is clearly searching for something. You see a hint of panic in their eyes and naturally ask, “What are you looking for?” Their answer will determine whether you urgently join their quest or simply wish them well and continue on your way. Lost grocery store coupons? “Good luck.” Lost child? “How can I help?”
When a person is lost, especially a child, there is more at risk than not finding them. There is the risk of what might happen to them while they are lost. This is why any parent’s greatest fear is probably losing a child — not knowing where they are or what might happen to them. The parent is overcome with a sense of dread and a single-minded determination to find their child as soon as possible. Nothing else matters!
Within the church today, calling those without faith in Jesus “lost” seems to have fallen out of favor, as if it has become impolite to refer to anyone in such a way. This is unfortunate because the term is biblical and imbued with strong redemptive meaning. If something is called lost, then it is valuable to the one who lost it and meant to be found. Anything held in the “lost and found” is just waiting to be reclaimed. However, once you stop searching, then the item is no longer lost — it’s abandoned.
After encountering Zacchaeus on the streets of Jericho, Jesus declared that He had come “to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10). The word translated as “lost” here doesn’t simply mean misplaced. It also carries the sense of perishing or being destroyed. This same term is used by Jesus in Luke 15 when He tells the parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son. Jesus didn’t just come to track down the wayward and missing but to rescue them from death and destruction.
As followers of Jesus, each of us is called to do the same. We have been given a mission — to rescue the perishing! We are to seek out those who are lost and facing destruction, and we are to rejoice whenever the lost are found. The Great Commission is a call to find the one lost sheep.
Do you feel the urgency and eternal importance of this task? I’m not sure we do. I think we know it and can quote it, but we don’t feel it. We can give intellectual assent to the truth of this charge, but this knowledge has not sufficiently moved us to action and has not consistently stirred us to sacrifice. Where are you willing to go and what are you willing to do to rescue the one lost sheep?
I hope that you will be with us for worship this Sunday and that you will be challenged and inspired to renew your commitment to follow Jesus’ example and to obey His command to seek the lost “in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).