Lost, but Loved

Life Notes—September 9, 2010

“Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it?  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.”  Luke 15:4,7 

I have two children.  I love them equally, but I also love them differently.  They are different people and, as their father, I worry about them both.  I worry differently for each of them, according to their individual natures, and I do not treat them the same. I may encourage one to get out with friends more, while I encourage the other to be home more (like for homework and sleep).  While I may try to lighten the mood with one, I may try to ‘darken’ the mood with the other. 

The point is, my children are very different; but those differences make them valuable and irreplaceable.  God created each of us differently and values us immeasurably for the unique creations we are.  I believe if I had fifty children, I would love them all equally, and love them all differently.  And if any one of them were sick or lost, I would leave the others in a heartbeat to do whatever I could for the one.  Not because I valued the others less, but because the need of the one was greater.  And because, no matter how many children I might have, there could never be any I would be willing to lose.  Such is the infinite value of a unique and individual treasure.  It cannot be replaced; as is equally true of all other unique and individual treasures. 

The parable of the lost sheep is illuminated for me by my personal experiences as a father.  I understand the actions of the shepherd completely.  But in order to understand the parable in a greater context, we must understand it beyond ourselves.  We are extremely blessed at First Church—worship, music, study, fellowship, fun, support, great facilities.  There are many opportunities to enhance our lives, our relationships and our connection with the Divine.  But less than half the people in Lawrence have a regular church home.  And those people are God’s beloved children just as much as we are.  And while not everyone who comes through the doors of our church will find a home, very few will come through the doors at all without a personal invitation; and fewer still will return if they don’t make some personal connection once inside.  If we could see the unchurched through God’s eyes, they might look like lost children seeking a home.  Do you know any ‘lost children’?  Invite (or bring) them into the fold for their sake—and for ours.  Children coming home is a shared blessing, both in heaven and on earth. 

Tom’s sermon downtown will be “Found,” based on Luke 15:1-10.  Life worship begins at 9:40 in Brady hall.  Traditional worship is at 8:30 and 11:00 in the sanctuary.  Contemporary worship at the west campus, with Mitch, is at 9:30. 

Come home to worship this Sunday.  Strugglers welcome!

Greg Hildenbrand, Life Music Coordinator

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