October 15, 2005

Overcoming Mixed-up Priorities

Matthew 18:10-14

10"See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven. 12"What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? 13And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. 14In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost.


"Your Father ... is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost." Matthew 18:14

As I talk with people about evangelism, I have discovered that most followers of Christ know they are called to share their faith and witness for Christ. Yet most believers struggle with turning their convictions into concrete action steps. Various barriers stand in the way and tend to hold back our progress. So, for the next several days, let's examine how to overcome some of those barriers.

Jesus told his parable of the lost sheep to a group of Pharisees and legal experts (Luke 15:1-7). As the religious elite, these leaders were scandalized by Jesus' willingness to associate with lost and lowly sinners, whom they despised as spiritual losers.

In response to their indifference, Jesus told about a shepherd who cared. With a lost sheep wandering helplessly in the desert, the shepherd's number-one priority was to rescue his one lost sheep and bring it back to the fold. No sacrifice or suffering was too great for that faithful shepherd.

Are we that passionate about the lost people around us? Do we spend time cultivating relationships with people and praying for opportunities to witness to them? If the good shepherd, Jesus, was willing to leave the comforts of heaven to reach lost people, we must be willing to reach them too.

Lord, forgive us when we become indifferent to the spiritual condition of people around us. Fire up our hearts to seek others who need to come to you. In Jesus, Amen.

About the author — Dan Jongsma

Daniel Jongsma serves as an interim pastor in Fulton, Illinois. He has pastored congregations in Elmhurst and Fulton, Illinois; in Dearborn, Michigan; and in Nashville, Tennessee. Dan also served as a church planter in the Chicago area. He and his wife, Gloria, have three daughters and four grandchildren.

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