Points to Ponder: Wanting to be Found?
Points to Ponder
Wanting to be Found?
Have you been found yet?
Both of our girls love to play "hide and seek." Inside the house, when they were really small, they could fit into all kinds of nooks and crannies, even the empty clothes hamper. They like stumping Daddy, keeping me hunting for several minutes in the absolute quiet of the house as they try to stay still. When they were very young, they couldn't stay hidden. Each of them, up to a certain age, would hide but then call out where they were hiding. I guess there's something about children; they want to be found by their searching parent.
Jesus teaches about how our Heavenly Father wants to find the lost. That's why Jesus, the Word made flesh (John 1:1-5, 14), came into the world; "to seek and to save the lost" (Luke 19:10).
In Luke 15, Jesus tells a trilogy of parables to express God's love for the lost: the lost sheep (vss 4-7), the lost coin (vss 8-10), and the lost son (vss 11-32). When each of the lost subjects were found, there was rejoicing in the found-ness of each of them.
The parable of the lost sheep offers a vivid image of God's love for the hopeless, and helpless. Some people feel their lives are such a mess that even God wouldn't want to come near them. One can feel so dirty, so far gone because of the consequences of bad choices, theirs or even someone else's.
Jesus describes a flock of one hundred sheep. The shepherd will "leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one which is lost . . ." (V. 4). We assume that the ninety-nine are cared for while he's gone, but the focus is on the diligent effort of the shepherd to seek and find the one.
It's a good picture for the righteous to consider. You care for your ministry, your facility, and your responsibilities. You tithe and your attendance in church and Bible study is regular. That's great. Your reward is in the growing relationship you are enjoying with the Lord. But His concern is focused more on the lost ones. Each one is of such concern to Him that, as the parable implies, a hireling is not sent to search. The shepherd himself goes.
Now here's the point to ponder: what does he do when he finds that helpless, hopeless, scared lost sheep?
"When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing" (v. 5).
Have you ever noticed the dirty, matted wool on sheep? Have you smelled them?
The shepherd is first of all joyful when he sees the lost one. He picks it up, dirt and smell and all, and "lays it on his shoulders." He carries it home. The shepherd is not upset about the time and effort this lost one cost him. He wasn't mad at the "stupid sheep" for getting himself lost. And he didn't care about the condition of the sheep when he found it. He brought it close to himself, no doubt covering himself with the dirt, smell, and whatever the sheep had picked up along the way.
What a picture of our loving God. We're never so dirty and smelly that He is repulsed. He wants to find you. Do you want to be found? He, like the shepherd, will pick you up right where you are. Then He will carry you to where you need to be. And He will rejoice in your found-ness. In all three parables, Jesus makes the point,
"I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance" (v. 7).
In the parable of the lost coin (vss 8-10), Jesus says that even the angels party "over one sinner who repents." Even one, every one.
In the well-known parable of the lost (or prodigal) son, the lost one is considered dead. When he repented and came to his father with a penitent and contrite heart, he was declared "alive again; he was lost and is found" (v. 24).
If you are a member of a church, when was the last time a lost one was reached and brought to Christ there. If "the Son of Man (Jesus) came to seek and to save the lost" (Luke 19:10), for what has your church been sent to your community?
If you are among the lost, are you ready to stop running? Do you want to be found?
"You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart" (Jeremiah 29:13).
"...Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you" (James 4:7b-8a).
Points to Ponder is a series of occasional articles written by Rev. Dennis Whitmore, Pastor of Hilltop Christian Fellowship of Clear Spring, MD. These articles (and sermons) are also found at www.hilltopchristianfellowship.com. Listen to Pastor Dennis on WJEJ-1240 AM, Tues and Thurs, at 10:45am and 7:50pm, both days.