Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law muttered, "This Man welcomes sinners and He eats with them." Luke 15:1 (Jesus said) "The Son of Man comes to seek and to save the lost!" Luke 19:10
Have you ever been really lost and then experienced the love of someone who did everything in their power to find you? I have. Well, I wasn't really lost, but I was misplaced for a while. You see, when I was younger, I would say, 12 years old or so, my parents took us to this place in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It was where the Black River meets the shores of Lake Superior. It is a beautiful place. Once you arrive, in order to get to the beach, you have to park your car in the parking lot, then make your way from the lot to a rickety bridge over the Black River. Once over the bridge there's a fork in the path. One goes to the beach on Lake Superior; the other goes up this hill along this cliff to this beautiful place called Rainbow Falls. Now, I can't remember all the details of that day, but let's just say this. My mom and dad were a bit slow getting out of the car -- at least to me. I guess it was because we had a new baby brother named Andrew. So, while they were fussing over him, I lead my brothers, Eric and Matthew, over the bridge because -- you know how boys are -- we were excited to get to the beach. After crossing the bridge, looking at that fork in the road, and realizing my parents were taking a lot of time, I got the bright idea to take my younger brothers to the falls first. I thought, we'd go there, take a quick look at the falls and be back to the beach in no time.
So off we went. I'm not sure how long we were gone, but I guess it was a while. All the time we were gone, my dad was feverishly looking for us. My mom was continually calling out our names. As a parent now, I can't even imagine what they were going through, but one thing I do understand now: I know they would have looked for us until we were found, no matter what. How do I know? I can still see their faces when they ran to hold us as we got back from the falls. I can see my mom's tears to this day. I can still see the stern relief on my dad's face and still hear him scold me to never run off like that again. Why, because they loved me, they loved my brothers, and they wanted what was best for us.
It's hard to imagine today, but there are children whose parents couldn't care less about them. There are people who not only don't feel loved -- they really aren't loved by the people around them or by the families in which they were born. It's unimaginable, but that crisis of uncaring is something we've unleashed in our society in the name of "freedom to do as we please." Amidst all that pain, God's people can be those who at least demonstrate that's there's another way to live, another way to love, to care for those no one else cares about.
And the very best way we can do that is to tell people of the love of God, the kind of love that doesn't wait for us to come and find it, to find Him. Jesus clearly tells us, He doesn't wait for us to come home to Him; He seeks us to save us even when we've lost our way. Why?
Because that's the way of God's love.
His love is the kind of love that seeks us out, that finds what was lost, that adopts what was orphaned, that covers what is exposed, that won't stop until we are found in His saving, loving arms. I felt that kind of love one day, when, as a sinner, I was still loved home. I'm thankful I had that kind of love growing up. It really does make a difference in your life. But I'm even more thankful that my parents made sure that I saw the kind of love that God has for me in Jesus Christ. It's the kind of love that is there for you even when everyone and everything else might be against you. Know this today: that love can be yours today, and you too can see what that kind of love can do in and through your life!
THE PRAYER: Dear Jesus, when we look to You in the Bible, help us to see that everything You say and do in and through Your Word is coming from the heart of One who desperately desires for all who are lost to be found -- and that includes us today! Amen!
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz
Speaker of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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