Seeking and Saving the Lost
“The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (v. 10).- Luke 19:1–10
Very often, human beings will exert a great deal of effort to find something that they value or something that they love when it has been lost. If we think we have lost our wedding ring down the kitchen drain, for example, we will crawl under the sink and disassemble the pipes in order to rescue our beloved possession. Dog owners will spend a great deal of time searching if their pet goes missing. They will walk or drive through their neighborhood for hours looking for the lost animal. They might even put up pictures of the missing dog on telephone poles, bulletin boards, and online message boards, promising a reward for the safe return of their pooch.
Tragically, we frequently do not go to the same effort to find lost souls. Fear of rejection, the responsibilities of life, the seemingly overwhelming task of world missions, and other factors make it easy for us to become complacent, to leave to others the task Jesus gave us of discipling the nations (Matt. 28:18–20). Generally, our failures to engage in evangelism and missions are not motivated by malice, but the deep self-centeredness that we possess as long as sin abides and leads us to overlook the need of others to know Jesus. We put up a church building and attend regularly, thinking somehow that people will just see Christian activity going on and visit of their own initiative. To some degree, that does happen, but if we are not actively seeking out lost people in order to give them the message of salvation, we cannot be surprised when they do not show up at our doors.
If we are to imitate God in the task of missions and evangelism, we must show at least the same effort—indeed, greater effort—in finding the lost as we do in looking for lost pets or valuables. After all, aside from His glory, human beings are more important to our Creator than anything else. He has a passion to seek and to save the lost, for that is why Christ became incarnate (Luke 19:1–10). Moreover, Luke 15 shows us that there is great joy in heaven when one sinner repents. The Lord throws a “party,” as it were, whenever lost people are found—whenever they believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.
We, too, were once lost in sin before the Lord found us (Eph. 2:11–12). And Christ found and saved us through the ministry of others, whether through our parents, a friend, attending church, or many other means. Let us seek to be used of Him to seek and save the lost.
God cares about the souls of His image bearers and so must we. Our friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, and acquaintances who do not know Christ will endure God’s wrath forever if they do not trust Jesus before they die. Let us pray that God would send lost people our way and that we would be ready to preach the gospel to them. Let us also look for the lost among those whom we know so that we can share the gospel with them.
Passages for Further Study