“For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.” (Luke 19:10 NLT)
It can be very disturbing to be lost. The only thing worse than being lost, is being lost, but not realizing it. Ironically, being lost doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t know where you are. It can also mean you don’t know how to get to where you’re going relative to where you are. What does that mean? It means you can think you know the way when in fact you do not.
Long before cell phones or GPS, when I was in college, I had a date with a girl I’d just met. She gave me her address and we set a time for me to pick her up. I left with what I thought would be plenty of time for me to get to her house, but after several minutes I realized I was on the right road but was going in the wrong direction. I believed I was going the right way, but obviously was not. I was lost.
That’s a predicament in which a lot of people find themselves today in a spiritual sense. They’re lost, but they don’t yet realize it. In Proverbs 14:12 Solomon writes: “There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.”
Everyday people get up, go through their daily routine, and go to bed without giving God a thought. Self-reliance is all they know. Then one day the test results are positive. The news comes of a loved one who was seriously injured or killed. Or the boss calls you in to let you know you no longer have a job. The scenarios vary, but, while God doesn’t cause them, He will often use something very negative in our lives to point us to Himself.
The word translated “lost” in the Bible paints the picture of someone who is self-willed, who is on a road that leads to destruction, but they can’t see where it’s leading until it’s eternally too late.
Tim Keller said: “Every religion has a prophet who is pointing people to God. Jesus is the only one who says, ‘I am God, and I am coming to find you.’”
What brings me to tears (literally) is the vast number of families who are dysfunctional, suffering from addictions, workaholics, pursuing everything material and nothing spiritual. That was my family growing up. Our next-door neighbors were believers, but rather than invite us to church, they just wanted me to stay away from their son. Mom was an alcoholic and it wasn’t unusual for shouting and worse to be heard from our house.
The miracle of God’s grace is, we didn’t have to go looking for Him, He found us! But how? Through faithful grandparents, uncles and aunts who prayed for us every day.
May I ask you, believing friend, are you praying for your neighbors by name? Are you lifting the ones that bully your child, to the Lord? Are you praying for that homeless person who smells bad and is always looking for a handout? How about the young lady who serves you at the coffee shop? The young man at the carwash? The one who cuts your hair? The wild driver who cut you off? The list is endless, but so are the needs.
The irony of “lostness” is, being “lost” spiritually is invisible. We tend to judge those who aren’t like “us,” assuming they wouldn’t have interest in knowing Jesus, but are equally oblivious to the ones who sit beside us in church, whom we think are just fine, when their world is falling apart behind their dutiful smile.
Being “lost” means not being “saved,” which we looked at in a post a few days ago. The good news is, the Good Shepherd never stops looking for His lost sheep. Aren’t you grateful He’s relentless? Aren’t you thankful He’ll use whatever means possible, including asking me or YOU to be His agent of light in the darkness of someone’s lostness?
Do you want to know what breaks God’s heart? People who are lost! We must be relentless in our praying for those who are lost, beginning, perhaps, with the one staring back at us from the mirror!
Blessings, Ed 😊