Loving Lost People
1Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. 2And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”3So he told them this parable:4“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it?” —Luke 15:1-4
God says that in the world there are just two kinds of people. I want to talk to you about both of them. The first kind, the minority, the kind that I hope you are, the Bible calls these people found. Found people. They used to be lost, but now they're found. The Bible uses a lot of other terms for them: saved, converted, redeemed, justified, born again, etc.
The second category of people in the world is lost people. Lost people are people that haven't been found. There are a lot more politically correct things to call them today. Some in the church have started calling lost people seekers, un-churched people, pre-converted people, or unreached people. These are all fine terms, but they're not biblical terms. Biblically speaking, God calls them lost. In fact, the Bible also calls them: unsaved, under wrath, wicked, ungodly, on the broad road that leads to destruction, and walking in darkness without hope and without God in this world.
Now, if you're a found person you can really forget what it's like to be lost. There is such a tendency in usto very quickly slip into being those religious people watching Jesus love sinners and tax-collectors. That’s because religious people always find lost people a nuisance. They get in the way. Religious people say, “Man, I get around those lost people and they start wrecking my religion, and I have to hear them say things—I can’t take it!”
You'll never have God's heart for lost people if you don't feel a personal responsibility for them. Because that's what the shepherd in Jesus’ parable had. He said, "I'm responsible for that lost sheep."
Are you moved with compassion toward the lost people in your life? How much do you care about the people at work that don't know Christ? If they were to die today they'd fall straight into hell. Do you see those people like a nuisance, or do you see them as lost people that you can help? Jesus left an example. We’ve got to love lost people. After all He loved us when we were lost!—James MacDonald
Prayer - Father, teach me how to walk regularly in the shoes of lost people. Help me not to forget that I too was once lost and just as helpless to do anything about it. Show me people that You want me to love with Your kind of love—don’t let me settle for people I think will be easy to love. Give me Your heart for the lost that I may feel what it’s like to be in Your company when You are searching for sheep who have gone missing. In Your name, Jesus, Amen.