Seeking the Lost
‘I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance” (v. 7). - Luke 15
Generally speaking, a dog owner will search high and low for his pet if he finds that his animal is missing. He might walk through his neighborhood, yelling out the name of his dog in hopes that it will come running. The local animal control center may receive several visits a day from this owner, hoping to find that the dog has been picked up and brought there. Normally, he will also plaster the telephone poles on local streets with flyers, promising a reward for the animal’s return. He may even go door-to-door, asking his neighbors if they have seen his pet.
While dogs are a good gift from the Lord, it is indeed sad that too many followers of Christ are more concerned to find lost pets than they are to find lost people. We easily grow complacent about our participation in the mission Jesus has given to us (Matt. 28:18–20). The task of world evangelization is so large that we often ignore it. Without necessarily bearing a malicious intent, most of us probably overlook the desperate needs found even in our own communities. Church buildings are often treated as doctor’s offices. Just as a physician waits at his practice for patients to come for treatment, so too do we act as if sinners will of their own accord visit the church in order to find salvation.
The task of seeking, however, belongs to the Christian community. As indicated in the three parables found in this passage, God’s passion is to seek out the lost. If they died tonight, the unrepentant sinners around us would go to hell, and our concern for these unbelievers is to be so great that we search them out, share the Gospel, and then rejoice when someone trusts Jesus (Luke 15:1–10). Lest there be any doubt about the Creator’s desire to find and be reconciled to lost sinners, the parable of the prodigal son tells us that the Father Himself rejoices when errant men and women return to Him (vv. 11–32).
We who have been found by Christ must never forget our desperation, lostness, purposelessness, and hopelessness before the Savior found us (Eph. 2:11–12). May we go out of our way to find and befriend non-Christians so that we might be used of Jesus to lead them into His kingdom.
How much do you know about the spiritual needs of your city? Where is the closest neighborhood to yours that has been given over to drug lords and other criminals because the hope of Christ is so absent? Where are those affluent areas in which people attempt to find purpose in their possessions because they do not know the One who makes life meaningful? Work with your pastor and elders to find unbelievers and then go and do what you can to bring the Gospel to them.
Passages for Further Study
- Ezekiel 34:11–16
- Romans 10:13–15