The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 1 Timothy 1:15
It was in the 1800s when the poor, little girl from London gathered together her courage and went to church.
It took courage because she knew she was not dressed as well as the others who worshipped in the large congregation. It took all her courage because she had never been taught the many fine points of religion, and she was embarrassed. Even so, her courage almost wasn't enough when she saw the pastor standing outside the great doors of the cathedral before worship.
But this is a happy story, and I'm pleased to tell you the pastor saw her hesitation. In the few minutes before worship, he shared the Savior's story. There wasn't much time, but it was enough. When the pastor asked if she would like him to pray for her, the girl agreed, but asked that he not use her name.
It was a great service made greater by the blessed truths the pastor shared with simple and wonderful words. When it came time for the prayer of the church, the minister said, "Lord, there is a little girl here who does not want her name known, but You know her. Watch over her special soul."
As I said, this is a happy story, so I can share that the entire congregation was respectful, as each silently and wholeheartedly prayed for the nameless little girl.
Yes, it was silent, until, from way back in the church, a young voice called out. The minister looked and saw the little girl on her feet and shouting, "Please, dear Jesus, it's me they're praying about. I'm that little girl."
Now I've been asked if that story is true.
Pretty much. Yup. It is.
You see, it doesn't matter if we are young or old, rich or poor, wise or foolish. Like this little girl we come to Jesus, unsure, afraid, dirty, doubting and unworthy.
Each week, in spite of our sins and shortcomings the Holy Spirit reaches out and invites us once again to hear the Good News story of Jesus Christ. Now Scripture is clear, Jesus came into this world to seek and save the lost, that is, every man, woman and child who has ever or will ever live.
But it is equally true that Jesus has come for each of us as individuals.
When He hung upon the cross, He was carrying your sins and my sins. True Man and true God, He saw my helplessness, sadness and despair.
He saw yours as well.
This is why each of us can rightly say, "Please, it's me, Jesus. It's me. I'm the little boy, the little girl You have come to save." And like that little girl we can rest assured that while Jesus has come for all people, He has also come to save us.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, there are billions upon billions of people in this world. Only You, the Son of God, could see them all. Only You could love them in spite of their transgressions. For that love, I give thanks and offer myself in humble praise. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries