So, have you ever been lost? I mean flat out, turned around, no clue, GPS wouldn’t help lost.
I remember driving from Great Bend, Ks, to some secluded mountain park in Colorado that I couldn’t get you to today if you paid me a million dollars. I was an early grade schooler with the family at an annual family reunion.
At some point in the afternoon the kids were getting hungry and restless, but dinner was still a couple hours away. That’s when my step dad and uncle decided to take the kiddos on a little mountain hike.
You know, something just long enough to distract the kids and be back in time for the big ol’ potluck.
It was fun at first, and as a kiddo, I wasn’t keeping track of time, but even a mildly ADD child like myself could tell we’d been out there too long.
So, I started paying attention to some details before I made the discovery:
- Step dad and uncle kept having us rest while they stepped aside for a ‘whispered’ argument
- Uncle took off his T-shirt and started tearing strips off and tying them to trees
- The look of terror on their faces when we kept finding those pieces of his shirt
It all lead to my conclusive discovery: there was no denying it, we were lost!
Though the adults never admitted it, all the kiddos new we were lost when we emerged from the tree line just after dark and all the mommas lost it.
Lots of hugging’ and cussin’ (the former at the kids, the latter at the men).
It’s a painful thing to be lost. It’s a scary thing to be lost and not know it.
Still, lostness is one of the dominant issues of the gospel.
- The story of Genesis describes the beginning of our lostness.
- The Old Testament chronicles a people of lostness.
- The Gospels find the answer to lostness.
- The entirety of the New Testament is manual for lostness recovery.
In fact, Jesus gave His personal vision/mission statement in Luke 19:10 when He said, “The Son of Man came to seek and save that which was lost.”
That’s what Jesus is all about, the reason He came and the purpose of the cross and the grave. Lostness is a condition that is curable, and Jesus doesn’t have the answer, He is the Answer.
I don’t think there is a Christian alive who denies the centrality “lostness” as a biblical theme. We are even grateful, awestruck and worshipful about it. One of the church’s favorite songs includes the line, “I once was lost but now I’m found.”
The problem isn’t with our own appreciation for being found, forgiven, rescued and redeemed. The problem is the disconnect for those who are still lost.
Pastor Perry Noble has said, “Found people find people.”
Pastor Ed Young, Jr, echoed, “The radically rescued, rescue radically.”
We need to rekindle an urgency, a passion, a fire for reaching the lost!
It is our responsibility.
Our church is about to start a series called LOST focusing on the 3 parables of Jesus concerning lostness. We often see the parable of the lost sheep, the lost coin and the prodigal son as messages of grace and mercy for those who have wandered and squandered in life.
But, if you read closely, Jesus had a deeper meaning. Obviously, grace and mercy extended to the lost is an appropriate application of these stories.
However, the fact that Jesus told all three stories in a row, to an audience of the over-churched (known as the pharisees), in response to church people talking smack about the lost gives these three stories a much dire inference.
Jesus wasn’t talking to the lost… He was talking to the found. He was making it very clear that found people find people, the radically rescued rescue radically and that if we are going to be like Jesus we have to be about His mission: to seek and save the lost.
So, here’s what we are going to do: pray for those you know who are not going to church, invite them to services with you (again and again and again), serve them in whatever ways you can that will draw them to Jesus, and talk to them about what Jesus means to you.
By the way, on that last one, you can’t really mess up your own story… it’s your story, so, have no fear.
Whatever church you attend, make sure that you are on a mission. This weekend, bring someone with you because if you are going to be like Jesus, you have to make your passion, mission and desire seeking what He is seeking.