“If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them wanders away, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others on the hills and go out to search for the one that is lost?” ~Matthew 18:12
Good morning; nice to see you here this morning, missed you last week. It’s meet and greet time during your Sunday morning church service. You go around smiling and shaking hands. You utter a few of the phrases recorded above. You may even throw in a few inquiries into someone’s health or well-being. Now you can go back to your seat and enjoy the rest of the service knowing that you have done your part in encouraging others and making them feel welcome. That’s great for those ninety-nine, but what about that one-hundredth sheep out there? Do you go out of your way to search for them?
I was faced with this question just recently. I happened to pass by a motorist who had been pulled over by the police. As I’m sure most of you would do, I did my best to see what was going on. It appeared to be a bit more than a routine speeding infraction. The person was standing several yards behind their vehicle, and two police officers were searching the inside of the car. I realized that I knew the young man that they had stopped. He used to go to our church. I wanted to stop and tell them that there had to be a mistake. I know him, he’s a nice kid. But almost as soon as that thought entered my head, another thought came on its heels. Did I really know him? I had only talked with him during those meet and greet times, and I hadn’t seen him for quite a while. When I told my daughter about it, she told me that, yes, he was a nice kid when he was around nice people, but when he got out in the world, he liked to do things that were a little on the wild side.
My question is, are you content to look at those ninety-nine that are safely inside the church or are you out there looking for that hundredth sheep who has gotten lost? Christ tells us to love each other as He has loved us. He doesn’t want even one of his lambs to perish. So, take the time to invest in someone else’s life. Get to know them. Show you care. Go out there and search for the lost one.
Just Say the Word
“Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed.” ~Luke 7:7b
In Luke 7 we read the account of a soldier who had such great faith in Jesus that he knew that Jesus need only speak the word and his servant would be healed. Jesus was willing to come and lay hands on him, had even started the journey, but the soldier knew that it wasn’t necessary.
My son has intractable epilepsy. Every time he has been in the hospital for anything either me or his dad has been there; sometimes both of us. We’ve laid hands on him. We’ve prayed for him. We’ve been by his side. Next week he will be having brain surgery. It will be one of the most critical moments in his life and for the first time, we can’t be there. I’ve struggled with this. I’ve cried over this. I’ve wracked my brain trying to figure out a way that I can be there with him. There is just no way around it. I’m going to need faith. I’m going to need to trust. I’m going to need to believe that I don’t have to be there physically to lay my hands on him. My prayers are not limited by space because my God isn’t.
What big struggles are going on in your life right now? Are there instances where you feel as though you need to be two places at once? Is there someone you are praying for that you cannot physically be beside? We need to remember that God is not subject to physical constraints. It only takes a word.
"16 for through him God created everything
in the heavenly realms and on earth.
He made the things we can see
and the things we can’t see--
such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world.
Everything was created through him and for him.
17 He existed before anything else,
and he holds all creation together."~ Colossians 1:16-17
Trials. Sorrows. We all have them. They are a part of the human condition. The trick is to remember that we are admonished to 'consider it all joy.' ~ James 1:2 How can we find joy in the midst of our trials? It is because through the testing of our faith we have the opportunity to develop grit,determination, staying power, call it what you will. We are being given a spiritual workout.
As with our physical well being, our spiritual well being is greatly dependent on what we take in. If we want to be able to endure, we need to make sure that we have the right fuel. We need to have God's word hidden in our heart so that when our times of hardship come, we will have a well to draw upon.