Last week my girls and I were driving in a neighborhood when a cat ran out in front of us. We abruptly applied the brakes. One of the girls said to me, “Mom, WAIT! That looks like the cat that is on the Lost and Found poster at the stop sign.” She wanted to get out and catch the cat and take it back to its owner, but the cat was so spooked it ran off quickly to the next street before we could catch it. We then went to find the poster to call the owner and let them know where we thought we had seen it. We went to the stop sign and the lost and found sign had been taken down. We were kind of bummed because we thought we were going to help a lost cat find his way back home.
This reminded me about another time when we tried to help a lost one to be found. This time, the lost one was a teenage boy! It was a regular school day. I was picking up the girls from school waiting along side of the road for them to come out. I love picking the girls up from school and hearing about their day. (It’s so cool to be a mom!!!) As I could see the oldest and middle one walking side by side, I saw one of them lean down and pick up a sheet of paper that was blowing in the wind. How sweet, I thought, that she was willing to pick up liter and make sure that it was properly disposed. They hopped into the car, and I told her how proud I was of her for picking up the trash. I asked her what it was. She handed it to me. The words that we found on the page were devastating to read.
It was a teenage boys’ letter to his dad about why he was leaving home. The words showed a deeply hurting and troubled boy. He said things like; “Why should I stay when all you do is yell at me and fight with mom. You don’t really love me or care about me or you would show up at my games.” The letter continued and as you can imagine my eyes swelled up with tears. I knew I had to do something but what could I do? There was no name on the letter. You could tell it was a draft that must have fallen out of someone’s backpack.
Here’s the crazy part of the timing of finding this letter. The night before, I had just completed the study of James with my bible study sisters. Oh WOW to the book of James. If you have never studied it, I invite you to. It will be a book that speaks loud and challenges you BIG! The ending of James is my favorite, and it was fresh on my mind.
“My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.”
I started my car and we drove around to the front of the school parking lot. The girls asked me what we were doing. I told them I needed to see the School Counselor to share this letter with her. It was a far stretch, but I thought it was the best option I had at trying to find this boy some help. Evidence of my tears were still fresh when I walked into the school. They must have felt sorry for me because they let me go straight back to the Counselor without an appointment. I told her that my daughter had picked up this letter off the ground and we wanted her to be aware of it, so she could try to find the boy that wrote it. I even went into what I had just studied in James and the conviction that was on my heart to help him be found. I think she felt the same. I did all that I really could do physically, but I prayed and interceded for this boy that I didn’t know and his dad. I have no idea how this story ends. I don’t know if the Counselor ever found the boy or not, but I know that our God is faithful to save His LOST and hurting children.
In the Parable of The Lost Sheep, Jesus is speaking to the tax collectors, sinners and Pharisees. The Pharisees mutter, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” Luke 15:2
Jesus goes on to tell the parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.” Luke 15:4-7
Here’s the deal…I see a world that will stop at nothing to find our lost pets. We will put up posters, offer rewards, microchip them so they can easily be found. We love them! Our family has 2 Yorkie Poos named Tex and Jewels. They are a part of our family and if they were lost of course we would try to find them. But what are we doing to try to save the lost souls of this broken world? The ones that are created in His image, you and me! See, we often turn a blind eye to their sin and hurt and we allow them to wander away from the truth when in reality they are so lost and afraid. What if we did something about it and we reach out and love them, we share His truth with them and we walk along side of them as they try to find their way back. That’s my heart! I want to be one that helps to bring people back into the fold. I don’t want to continue to sit back and watch them continue to walk further away as they continue to walk in their sin. We can be God’s hands and feet and help them to turn away. It inspires me to get to work, to not be afraid to reach out and LOVE like Jesus did. We might be rejected like He was, and that’s OKAY!!! The church’s that are standing on the truth will not be afraid to speak it, they will not fear the one’s that don’t want to hear it and they will help bring the lost sheep back into the arms of the loving Shepherd! There will be GREAT REJOICING in Heaven…those are Jesus’s words! Let’s get to bringing the celebration and REJOICING to His Kingdom!!!
In closing, here’s what the footnote of James 5:20 says: “The book of James emphasizes faith in action. Right living is the evidence and result of faith. The church must serve with compassion, speak lovingly and truthfully, live in obedience to God’s commands, and love one another. The body of believers ought to be an example of heaven on earth, drawing people to Christ through love for God and each other. If we truly believe God’s word, we will live it day by day. God’s Word is not merely something we read or think about, but something we DO. Belief, Faith, and Trust must have hands and feet – OURS!