Have you ever had your child wander off and get lost? Years ago when our daughters were much younger we would take them along on our weekly shopping excursions to the supermarket or the mall. Our oldest daughter, Candace seemed to have a tendency to wander off in search of anything sparkly, or pink, or maybe even the flashing blue light special happening on aisle 15! About the time we realized that she had wandered off, we would hear her name mentioned over the loudspeaker: “will the parents of a Candace Martin please come to the front of the store to claim your daughter, who is lost… for the sixth time… today.” At that moment we would frantically run to the front of the store and there would be a tearful, scared little Candace waiting at the counter. If you are a parent, most likely you can relate in one way or another with our experience!
How does Jesus feel when his children are lost?
We all know how it feels to lose someone or something valuable, but how does God feel when someone becomes lost? Jesus shares a story about the heart of our Father in Luke 15:4 “What man of you having a hundred sheep, if he loses ONE of them does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the ONE which was lost until he finds it? (5) And when he as found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. (6) And when he comes home he calls together his friends and neighbors saying to them ‘rejoice with me, for I have found MY sheep which was lost!’ (7) I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over ONE sinner who repents that over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.”
Jesus identifies with the Lost
What I love about this story is that Jesus places a high value on the sheep and personally identifies with it by calling it “my sheep”. Jesus lets us know that he will not give up, let up, or stop searching until his sheep is found. There are no pre-conditions, nor does it matter how far the sheep wanders off, or how broken, dirty or messed up it becomes… The good news is that lost sheep are never beyond the care, love or reach of the Great Shepherd.
Lost people matter to God
Years ago our team had just finished a citywide crusade in the city of La Paz, Bolivia. The following morning I was sitting at a sidewalk café enjoying a coffee and celebrating the number of souls who had come to the Lord in the preceding days. As I took a sip of my coffee that morning I sensed the Lord quietly direct me to look around at people in the café and those hurrying past on the sidewalk on their way to work. As I took a moment to look into the eyes of these beautiful people, I sensed the Holy Spirit reminding me, “these people are lost and they matter to me. And if they matter to me, they must matter to you.”
God cares more for the lost than we can ever imagine. Even now He is still looking, seeking and searching for lost hearts. More than ever, “if they matter to me, they must matter to you” must guide our efforts and motivate us to reach out to those facing an eternity without Jesus.