April 28, 2017

He seeks the lost

I make quilts and use a ‘design wall’ to pin my work so I can stand back for an overall look. Sometimes the array is too large and I need to be farther away than the wall behind me. For that, I have one of those lenses for doors that you can peep through before opening it. It makes the quilt appear even farther back.

A few months ago, I showed the lens to a few friends who were quilting with me. The next day I could not find it, not in the drawer where it normally goes, nor sitting in any obvious place. I searched the room, even got down on the floor with a flashlight. No door lens. Since then, I’ve cleaned, sorted, etc. but the lens has not been found.

My husband told me to forget about it and bought me another lens. However, there is something in me that will not let go of that lost lens. I’ve had the same reaction to other lost items, like the dinner forks our granddaughter hid about 25 years ago, (we moved several times since, but never found them), or the pail of clothespins that went missing from our yard in California more than 35 years ago. Perhaps this odd response to losing things is a God-thing. It definitely reminds me with the way He feels about those lost in sin . . .

Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” So he told them this parable: “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? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. “Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Luke 15:1–10)

Today’s devotional focuses on the fact that Jesus, holy and without sin, would stoop to receive sinners as a demonstration of His great love. The writer says we could easily eat with other sinners because it is a level playing field; we are sinners ourselves, but this is God Himself!

Upon reflection, this attitude of Christ seems more of a choice, one that Christians can make as well. Paul wrote about Jesus’ great love for us and how we are to have that same love, doing things without conceit and selfish ambition, counting others more significant than ourselves. He goes on to say:

“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:5–8)

Jesus came to seek and save those who are lost. Of course, this goes beyond looking for a lost possession, but I understand that desire. For me, it isn’t about the possession either — I can easily replace those things that have been lost. For me, this is more about the desire to keep things in their right place. A lost lens is dislocated, not where it belongs, out of reach, no longer useful as it was intended. Is that part of why the Lord seeks the lost?

Oh, Lord Jesus, instead of being where You created us to be, we have been dislocated by sin, in darkness, out of fellowship with You, not available to be filled and used by the Holy Spirit for Your purposes. This is the reason You came, stooping to find the lost, searching in the darkness of this world to bring all things back to their right place. Thank You for not giving up, for not replacing me or forgetting me.

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