Friday, December 18, 2009

“Rejoice with me for I have found my lost sheep.”  (Luke 15:6)

                For Christians this is a glorious time of the year.  We celebrate the fact that though we were lost God came seeking us and found us.  He came as a baby, born of poor circumstances, just at the right moment in history, just so He could find His sheep which were lost.  Sadly there are still those who are lost in “winter festivals, happy holidays, and season’s greetings” and haven’t discovered this searching God. 

                As most of my readers know, my writings come from my daily encounters with God’s word.  And just one week from Christmas, several chapters beyond the “Christmas story,” God showed me a rich story for us all.

                We tend to come to the story of the Prodigal Son and treat it independently.  But like all Scripture, we must not forget the context of the passage.  In this case, the Prodigal Son is the third parable that Jesus tells in response to the mutterings of religious leaders, “This Man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” (LK 15:2)  So Jesus answered their mutterings.  He told of the man who lost one sheep and left the whole flock behind to find that one sheep.  And when he finds it, he rejoices.  Then Jesus tells the parable of the lost coin.  The woman lost her one coin and swept the whole house clean just to find it, and when she did, she rejoiced.  All that sounds beautiful.  A lost sheep and a faithful shepherd; a lost coin and a faithful owner; these make beautiful stories.

                But then Jesus adds the human element.  A man loses a son and grieves for his loss, and when he finds him, he rejoices.  However the son who had everything was not rejoicing; he was mad – mad that the father would accept the one who was lost and now found; mad that he might have to share his inheritance with a wayward brother.  Sadly, although Jesus was telling this story to the Jewish leaders who were jealous of their relationship with God, He was also talking to the modern church which refuses to leave their traditions and traditionalisms to find those outside of the faith.  We invent many ways to circumvent this responsibility:  we say we are not gifted; that we need to focus on our own churches; we need to (you fill in the blanks).  The real Christmas spirit however is not found in keeping to ourselves, but in sharing the Greatest Story Ever Told, with those who have not heard it.  And when someone hears the story and is found, then we rejoice.  And as Jesus said in the first two parables, “I tell you there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”

                Let’s make this a Christmas that we all rejoice because we share Jesus with the world, many of whom don’t think they need Him.  It is so simple to share joy without preaching; to stand firm without being belligerent; to be Christian sharing the joy of a God who became a Man to seek out the lost.  In your stores, let your smile and warmth show your customers that know Christ.  In managing your employees, show them that they matter as much as a lost sheep; in working for your bosses, demonstrate Christ-likeness.   Be involved in your communities in a way that glorifies Christ.  And rejoice when you see one that was lost and now is found.

Kingdom Road Ministries
PO Box 503
10 South Main, Suite 201
Victor, ID 83455

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