“Rejoice with me,” said the shepherd, “I have found my lost sheep.” “Rejoice with me,” said the woman, “I have found my lost coin.” “We had to celebrate and be glad,” said the father, “because this brother of yours was . . . lost and is found.” – Luke 15:6,10, 32 (NIV)
I was getting ready for bed Wednesday evening when it occurred to me that I hadn’t seen Providence, my black cat, all evening. Usually she competes with Rascal, my other cat, for lap space when I plop down on the love seat, or she curls up on the chair by the woodstove.
I couldn’t remember seeing her that afternoon when I lugged in the groceries. Normally I’d be tripping over her—she loves to snoop in the shopping bags. Neither did I remember her getting underfoot before I left for town.
I checked her usual hiding places. I shook her bowl, rattling the cat food—which usually brings her racing to the kitchen. I opened and shut the patio door several times, thinking she’d hear it and come running if she was outside. I called her—inside and out, but she didn’t come.
I went to bed worried. A couple of times through the night I woke up and went to the kitchen to see if she was outside the patio door, peeking in.
It was still dark when I got up Thursday morning. No Providence. Now I was really concerned. Where could she be?
About an hour later, she came prancing into the kitchen. She’d been in the house all along! Apparently she found another hiding place.
Relief flooded me. I scooped her up and cuddled her close. She, of course, was oblivious to my pampering. She had no idea how worried I’d been. I’d thought I’d lost my kitty.
It reminded me of the three “lost” parables Jesus told: the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son. When something is lost, it’s not where it belongs.
Being lost spiritually means being apart from Christ, in danger of eternal separation from God.
We all know someone who is lost—a son or daughter, a spouse, a sibling, a parent, a friend, a co-worker, a neighbor. We’ve done all we can to “save” them.
But, remember, we don’t save them. That’s not our job. It’s not our job to convict or convince—that’s the Holy Spirit’s job (John 16:8). God has already done what’s needed to save them, through His Son (John 3:16; Acts 4:12; 1 John 1:7).
Our job is to live a godly life so they can see Christ in us. Our job is to pray for them: pray for the blinders to be removed (2 Corinthians 4:3–4), for their hearts to soften (Ezekiel 36:26), and for God to draw them to Him (John 6:44). Our job is to be ready to share the Good News when we have the opportunity–and when the Spirit so leads (1 Peter 3:15).
I may not see the answers to my prayers for my unsaved loved ones in my lifetime, but I will keep praying and with God’s help live the Gospel. And someday, I’ll have reason to say, “Rejoice with me . . .”
Father, help me to so live my life that the lost will want to be found. Amen.
“It is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict, God’s job to judge and my job to love.” – Billy Graham
Extra tea: Read and meditate on Luke 15