Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Seeking That Which Was Lost

 (submitted by Kerry Patton)
“Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
Luke 19:9-10

I Can’t Find Those Gifts
I was so proud of myself…for the first time in a long time; I had all my Christmas shopping done early!  I was sitting in my comfy recliner, it’s Christmas Eve, and I’m congratulating myself on a job well done.  Then it hit me…I hadn’t wrapped Laura’s last two gifts.  I went into the extra bedroom where we were set up for wrapping presents and looked for the red Target sack that had those gifts.  It wasn’t there!!  Only panicking a little, I went out and looked in the trunk of my car.  No presents there.  Full panic mode now.  Where were the presents???

My mind is racing…where could they be?  I’m tracing back through my memory.  Could I have left them at Target?  That must be it!  So I called the store and spoke with a manager.  They didn’t have anything that had been turned in.  Oh no.  What would I do?  Well, I guess I could go out and try to find those gifts again and repurchase them.

I quickly drove up to Target and met with the Customer Service manager.  He assured me that it would all be okay and handed me off to the Security Agent there.  The Security Agent was very helpful and invited me to wait in the Starbucks while he examined the security tapes for the day and hour I had shopped there.  About fifteen minutes later, he came back and told me that he had located me shopping, purchasing the gifts…AND leaving the building with them.  He even described me putting them into my trunk.  Video had caught it all. 

I was amazed.  I responded: “You have me leaving the building with two red Target bags in my right hand??”  “Actually,” replied the Security Agent, “you left with a red bag and a white bag.”  HOLD ON!  I hadn’t been looking for a white Target bag.  I had only been looking for a red bag…like the one that had held the other gift I had purchased there.

Sheepishly, I called home on my cell phone.  I asked Laura to have the kids look in the wrapping room to see if there was a white Target bag there with my missing presents in it.  She reported to my great joy that my white Target bag was there in my home…right where I had placed it.  I hadn’t left the gifts behind after all!!  But I had been looking for them with wrong expectations, wrong preconceptions, and had looked right past them.  I was so relieved.

Fulfilling the Great Commission
Before he left the earth to go and prepare a place for us, Jesus gave his disciples the commission to “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20 As followers of Jesus, we come to understand that this is no small part of why we are here…to lead others to the same Lord and Savior that we have found.  We can, however, become hampered by our own expectations and pre-conceptions of what those potential converts will look like.  Like me and my lost presents, we can look right past those whom the Father has ripe and ready for us to share the Good News with because we are expecting them to have a different appearance, or personality, or life story.  In no small way, we often expect others to be just like us, when in fact, they may be very different.  Like Jesus, we are come to “seek and save the lost”, however they may come wrapped!

We are wise to reevaluate those relationships, those persons we may be looking past for whatever reason and reconsider a strategy…a strategy that works for them… of sharing the example and testimony of a loving Savior with them.

In closing, I confess that I was a little embarrassed after my presents were “un-lost,” not because I had lost them to begin with…but because I had been in such an urgent panic; and that I realized I had lost sight of that same sense of urgency for the lost souls that were perishing around me every day.  Urgency Re-found. 

I am here, just like Jesus, to seek and save the lost…to use whatever appropriate means to help them become found.

Almighty God, thank you for allowing me to travel this road, to learn again this precious lesson.  How precious are those whom you gave your life for.  Help me in my daily living not to become blind to those who are ready to be found.  In your Holy Name I pray, Amen.

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