Friday, November 3, 2023
The loss of precious items and people in Luke 15:1-32 — the lost sheep, coin, and sons — are deeply emotional when we understand the full meaning of what had been lost. God wants us to realize how much He yearns for lost, broken, and confused people to come home to Him. He yearns to find them and shower His love, joy, peace, and power upon them. So, Jesus tells these three deeply emotional stories to awaken us to God's passion for lost people!
The lost sheep story is our focus in today's verses. The emotion of this story comes alive when we remember that God is the Shepherd of His people,  Jesus is the good Shepherd,  and God's leaders are often called shepherds in the Scriptures.  God wants us to feel His deep sense of loss when one sheep is missing. He also wants us to rejoice in the celebration when that lost sheep is found. 
When people quit coming to our gatherings, turn away from God, grow lukewarm in their faith, or stumble into sin, God doesn't want us just to sit there hoping they will return. Our church culture has lulled us into thinking that the goal of a disciple is to invite people to come to church and find God. God's position, however, is that those with a heart like His don't expect lost people to come to them but to get up and find those who are lost!
The great message of John 3:16 isn't that God loved the world so much that he invited people to His house to meet Him. Instead, God came to us in Jesus of Nazareth, Immanuel — God with us.  In Jesus, God lived as one of us and died brutally at our hands. Jesus' disciples see His example and know they should be a go-and-find-them sort of people instead of an invite-them-and-hope-they-return-to-church culture. Our goal is not to get people to come to a building but for us to go and reach them with the love of God! Aren't we glad Jesus left the ninety-nine to come in search of us? Now, he asks us to look among His flock and see who is missing, go and find them, find out how to bless them, and then bless them. Our relationship with people who are lost or who have turned away is one of the essential relationships we have. God is looking for go-find-them-sorts of people with a heart for the lost.
Jesus summed up His passion for His mission with these words:
"For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many."
Father, tune my heart to love those who are lost and broken as You do. Jesus, help me hear the cries from people's hearts so I can serve them as you did and respond to them with grace and mercy to help them find You as their Savior. Holy Spirit, I trust you will give me words to say when I seek to share my hope with others with gentleness and respect. Help me, O, God, to bring Your lost sheep home with great joy. Amen.
Together in Christ is a daily devotional that focuses on what Scripture teaches about godly living in relationships.
'Together in Christ' is written by Phil Ware.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
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