Note: To all my readers – thank you for checking in on what this old preacher might have to say. I just wanted to let you know that for the next week I will be away with members of my family attending the confirmation of the youngest daughter of one of our babysitters. I’ll be back at posting a blog entry on Monday, June 4th.
SCRIPTURE: Luke 9:25 (TM)
What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you?
STORY as shared by Joseph M. Stowell:
We were on our annual Christmas trek to Chicago. Each year we brought our family to spend time with Grandpa and Grandma and visit the museums. This year we decided to finish our Christmas shopping at suburban Woodfield Mall. In the midst of all the fun and excitement, one of us noticed that little three-and-a-half- year-old Matthew was gone. Terror immediately struck our hearts. We had heard the horror stories: little children kidnapped in malls, rushed to a rest room, donned in different clothes and altered hairstyle, and then swiftly smuggled out, never to be seen again...We split up, each taking an assigned location. Mine was the parking lot. I'll never forget that night--kicking through the newly fallen snow, calling out his name at the top of my lungs. I felt like an abject fool, yet my concern for his safety outweighed all other feelings.
Unsuccessful, I trudged back to our meeting point. My wife, Martie, had not found him, nor had my mother. And then my dad appeared, holding little Matthew by the hand. Our hearts leapt for joy. Interestingly enough, Matthew was untraumatized. He hadn't been crying. To him, there had been no problem. I asked my father where he had found him. "The candy counter," he replied. "You should have seen him. His eyes came just about as high as the candy. He held his little hands behind his back and moved his head back and forth, surveying all the luscious options." Matthew didn't look lost. He didn't know he was lost. He was oblivious to the phenomenal danger he was in. This is a candy-counter culture, where people who don't look lost and don't know they're lost live for consumption.
Being lost is horrible, but being lost and not knowing it simply magnifies the problem a thousand fold. If one doesn’t know that they are lost they won’t do anything to be found … they will simply go through the motion of living. It has been said that ignorance is bliss, but sometimes it isn’t. While lingering in the state of our “lostness” ignorance can be eternally deadly.
Remember the national effort many years ago titled, “I Found It?” With bumper stickers, flyers, TV ads, newspaper ads, door-to-door canvasing the church made every effort to spread the Gospel – to find those that were lost and introduce them to Jesus Christ. The effort might have produced some results, but what is remembered are the stale jokes about the campaign slogan. People were lost, but were ignorant of that reality and actually kind of made fun of their state of being lost.
The church today has a tremendous opportunity to present the Gospel. The present age is very religious, according to some surveys, but it is a generic religious mindset. No specifics and no Jesus relationship. It kind of hails back to the old 60s and 70s thinking: “It does not matter what you believe as long as you believe something.” Really? That tide was changed when it was discovered that in the midst of life’s challenges that particular approach to religious feelings doesn’t work too well. And now, we are back to that old way of thinking. Religious without any requirements, without any relationship, without any fellowship … the old “go it alone” syndrome as in being lost, but knowing that ones lost.
The results can have a deadly ending. Our destiny is our choice. It will take God’s action through Christ to change it. The only way out of this never ending state of being lost is a relationship with the Savior, Jesus Christ.
If we are among those who are lost, Lord, come and find us. If we know someone who is lost, Lord, show them to us so that we can go, hold their hand, and share the relationship that we have discovered for ourselves.
QUOTE from Max Lucado, And The Angels Were Silent:
Our Task on earth is singular – to choose our eternal home. You can afford many wrong choices in life. You can choose the wrong career and survive, the wrong city and survive, the wrong house and survive. You can even choose the wrong mate and survive. But there is one choice that must be made correctly, and that is your eternal destiny.