October 05, 2005

Seeking the Lost (2)

Luke 15:11-24

11Jesus continued: "There was a man who had two sons. 12The younger one said to his father, 'Father, give me my share of the estate.' So he divided his property between them. 13"Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. 17"When he came to his senses, he said, 'How many of my father's hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.' 20So he got up and went to his father. "But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. 21"The son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.' 22"But the father said to his servants, 'Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate. 24For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' So they began to celebrate.


"This son of mine ... was lost and is found."

Luke 15:24

Jesus' parables in Luke 15 are filled with profound truths that can change the way we view reality. For one thing, they change the way we view God.

For example, instead of seeing God as a cruel taskmaster or a harsh judge, I now picture God in some ways as a tender shepherd, as a concerned mother, and as a heartbroken father. When I think about God now, I think about someone who is patiently waiting for me to repent and return home. I think of someone who cares that I have lost my way and who welcomes me back with open arms even after I have failed miserably.

This chapter also affects the way I view myself. I now see myself as a person of value--a priceless treasure in God's eyes. My failures do not lessen my worth in God's sight. I matter so much to God that it warranted an all-out search to rescue me.

These stories also change the way I view others. I now realize that everyone I meet matters to God. Everyone receives a party thrown in their honor when they cross the line of faith and join God's family. Luke 15 helps me develop the eyes of God as I look into my community and see lost people in need of a Savior.

Finally, this passage helps me realize that I am to be part of God's search-and-rescue team. Nothing could be more exciting.

Father, help us to show and tell people outside your family how much they matter to you and that you are searching for them to be found. In Jesus' name we pray. 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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