Have you ever thought about what Jesus' job title on a job application might have been if he were not the Son of God?
Based on Jesus' ministry and mission, we might opt for a description like, "Finder of the Lost, Mender the Broken." After all, in the story of Zacchaeus, Jesus described his mission this way:
"For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost" (Lk 19:10 NRSV).
On another occasion, Jesus defined his ministry in these words:
"Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; 32 I have come to call not the righteous but sinners to repentance" (Lk 5:31—32).
Many of us have been reluctant to admit when we were broken or felt lost. In a dog-eat-dog world and a "don't let them see you sweat" culture, we never wanted to appear weak or vulnerable. Yet this last year of battling Covid-19 has pretty much shattered our facade of invincibility.
We know we are vulnerable. Many of us have seen some of our most vital friends humbled by a tiny virus. Our world is broken and lost. The virus is only one piece of a shattered reality we experience in our fractured, divided, prejudiced, fearful, hate-filled, and vulnerable world.
Let's not delude ourselves. While we hope the vaccine rollout is speedy enough to help us turn the tide, we are unsure. Will it mutate too quickly to vaccinate our way out of the pandemic? Will my loved ones be protected? What about our economic vulnerability? When will things return to normal? Or, will they ever return to normal?
In James' video today, he shares some important insights about how we can experience the transformation "From Lost to Found" as we move from "Creation to New Creation"! James reminds us that God's people have been in lost places before our time. They made it safely through their wilderness to better times and better places.
How do we?
James points us to several important biblical principles and examples to help us in our challenging times.
After James' video, Phil reminds us about the heart of God using a startling image. Jesus chose this image for God to remind us that he is the finder and mender of what is lost and broken. We are not alone. God comes looking for us when we are lost. We don't face unprecedented times, for our God has been here before! He describes himself in these terms:
“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty" (Revelation 1:8).
God chose to be elbow-deep in the mess of human hatred, awful diseases, feared death, and lost hope. He emerged with life — not just for himself but also for us.
So, how do we navigate times like these when we feel lost and vulnerable?
How do we find our way forward?
Where do we muster the strength to face our challenges, navigate our uncertain roads ahead, and embrace our future with courage and confidence?
James' insights will bless you and remind you that God's people have been this way before. For the God who is I AM, there is no need for panic, a GPS, or a map, to find our way out of our lostness. We may feel like we face unprecedented times and unique challenges, but God and his people have been here before and found their way home to better things and better places. Listen and be blessed!
God sent Jesus to us so we could know that he is the "Finder of Who is Lost, Mender of Who Is Broken." No chapter in Scripture quite compares with the audacity of God's self-revelation in Luke 15. Jesus used three metaphors to represent God's love for us:
- A shepherd with a lost sheep.
- A woman with a lost coin.
- A father with a lost son — actually, two lost sons.
Each of these images that Jesus gives us of God is daring and startling. We tend to gravitate to the shepherd or the father. But, today, let's focus on the woman turning her house upside down, looking for her lost coin. This desperate woman is a powerful image of God, and helpful for us caught in a world that feels crazy, and life appears lost and broken.
While most people no longer respected shepherds in Jesus' day, they had a glorious history in Israel's past. Abraham, Moses, and David had all been shepherds. David gave God's people the beautiful and tender image of God as our Shepherd in Psalm 23. Jesus frequently used this image of a shepherd to describe his ministry. Unfortunately, we often lose the edge of Jesus' point: God as our Shepherd leaves the 99 in the field to find the one. At least, however, we are familiar with this image and accept it.
The father's story with the lost son — really, both sons are lost if we read the whole parable — is a gripping story that holds our hearts because we recognize so much of our own human experience. Love, division, family feuds, harsh words, and the hope of homecoming reunion celebrations bathed in love. This story grips our hearts.
The story of a lowly peasant woman grubbing around on her dirt floor in her windowless, low-doored, small box-of-a-house doesn't immediately grab us — at least not many male teachers and preachers. This powerful image of God being a woman on her hands and knees desperately searching her dark, small, dirt-floored house to find the valuable coin is shocking. This image of God stooping so low to be so insignificant doing what is so beneath diety should awaken our hearts.
There isn't a higher and lower caste for God, only lost people he longs to find. God wants each lost person found. The Father longs to make each lost soul his child. No floor is too dirty and no corner too dark for the King of glory. He will stoop, kneel, and crawl, hands-in-the-dirt, wherever necessary to find his lost ones. So, God chose one of society's lowest valued, most overlooked, and least appreciated people to represent him. He chose the most mundane and lowly of actions to portray his searching love. God decided to picture himself as a poor woman searching the darkness and dirt for something precious.
God's love and our lostness!
God's love and our brokenness!
[Jesus gave them another parable:]
"Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn't she 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."
Do you feel lost?
Does your health, heart, family, world, or faith need mending?
James reminded us that God's people were lost in the past. We can use their example of working together and following God to get out of our wilderness. We can find our way into his Promised Land.
Phil reminded us that even in our darkest, dirtiest messes, we are never too lost or too broken to be found and mended by our LORD, whose job title is "Finder of the Lost and Mender of the Broken." He won't give up until he finds us. He has endured the dirtiest and grubbiest of earthly reality to bring us home to share in his joy.
Our hope in God is that sure — as real as the dirt on the floor of a first-century shack. Look closely and notice an unknown and seemingly unimportant woman in the darkened corner of a mud house. The house has no windows and only a low door. She is covered in dust, nearly lost in the shadows, and has dirt under her fingernails. She holds up a dirty coin and has a big grin on her face. Then, with great joy, she cries out at the top of her lungs so all her neighbors can hear: "Found you!"
It's then that you realize that God is that lowly woman, you are her coin, and the party of heaven is about to begin!