Wednesday, September 16, 2009

September 16, 2009

"Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.' In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents."
Luke 15:8-10
I would help you look for your lost child because I care about you and your child.
You would do the same for me.
But, let's be honest, each of us would search harder for our own child that we would for another's child. That is human nature. You know it. I know it. And certainly, God knows it.
When you look back at the story of the lost sheep, you realize that the one who cared the most about that sheep was its shepherd. He was the only one who went looking because he was the one who valued the animal the most. He was the one most motivated to search.
Now, when he found it and brought it back safely, there was a great celebration. Many people were happy that the sheep was found and returned, but now one cared as much as the shepherd. It just makes sense.
As we focus on the next parable, The Lost Coin, we see this truth even more clearly. The coin that was lost by this woman was likely part of her dowry. In that culture they didn't wear wedding rings but instead they took the coins from their dowry and made a necklace from them. They wore that necklace around their neck or on their head to show that they were married. Obviously, that necklace and those coins would have far more value to the woman than to anyone else. So, when one coin detached from the necklace and was lost, she was the one most motivated to find it. No one else came to aid in the search, but many joined in the celebration when the lost coin was located.
You could say that is wrong, but I think Jesus is saying that is natural. Afterall, Who understands human nature better than Him?
As I study these two parables I draw out this principle for reaching lost people - CELEBRATE ALL BUT CONCENTRATE ON A FEW.
In Luke 15, Jesus isn't chiding these religious leaders because they didn't care about ALL lost people, He is upset with them for not caring about ANY lost people.
When Jesus left us with the Great Commission, He didn't expect any one individual Christian to go to "all the world" and reach the whole world. He gave that command to the WHOLE Church. Collectively, we are to reach as many lost people in our corner of the world as we possibly can. That cannot happen by one or two individuals doing all the reaching. But it becomes a real live option if a majority of believers commit to reaching a few lost people.
No one will be more motivated to reach the lost friends or family members than you because you care for them more than anyone else. And, by virtue of your relationship to them, you have more trust and credibility with them. You are the most likely person to bring that lost person home.
Don't feel guilty or defeated because you don't feeling motivated to reach the whole world. Feel bad if you don't get excited when lost people come home and repent if you don't care enough to reach the few lost people God has placed in your life.