I am reading Luke chapter 15 this morning...
"So he told them this parable: "What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.' 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 15:3-7 ESV
This is the first of three parables. Next He speaks of a lost coin. Then after that is the famous story of the prodigal son.
Have you ever lost your car keys? Is it fun? No, It is a few minutes of panic and then if they are not found it is who knows how much time of compromised wranglings to either get into the car or find an alternate means of transportation.
What about losing a wallet, a will or an important document? The lost coin parable lines up with that one.
Then the parable of the prodigal lines up with a family dispute that ends in a person leaving (perhaps in an angry way) and not talking to the rest of the family for an extended period of time. Fun Fun Fun.
Let's be honest. All three of these things are huge inconveniences in the natural realm. They are drains on time and productivity. The 99 sheep aren't getting cared for. The lady of the house surely had other plans besides searching for a coin all day. The father wanted a happy peaceful home.
This chapter is really about souls not stuff and the recovery of souls will always have degrees of inconvenience. Jesus focuses on the eventual rejoicing we will feel when what was lost is found and we do well to have that focus also.
People, like sheep, need experiences that mature them. Coins need to be put in secure places. Families need to work things through and not live in quiet unhappiness. Souls need to be saved.
Evangelism is important. There will be rejoicing because of it. I think about my day today and as a man I want it to be productive. The last thing I want to do is go looking for my car keys or wallet. At the same time I know that people are lost and they need to be found. Like the prodigal son before he left home discontent is simmering under the surface. People want out but can't find a way out so they just cope from day to day.
Jesus is all about finding lost things. I know people who talk about how much they love soul winning. They talk to people everywhere and hand out tracts where ever they go. They have million redemption stories. I am glad for them and have had brief seasons like that but for the most part I find soul winning inconvenient.
I hate it when a sheep goes missing. It messes up my day.
Then I read this and reorient again. If my prayers are for a day without inconvenience then I am missing out because God has an inconvenient day planned. He is looking for sheep. He is under the couch with the housewife looking for the lost money. He is the Father who has two very different sons who is filled with longing for both of them to truly know him and not just live far away or close but in ignorance.
God, We need your mind. Shift our hearts. Fill us. Evangelism is not likely to become more convenient. In a team it can be social and fun but our profit is a payout of joy later. We want to be where You are. We want to think like You think. Give us divine appointments today and give us a flexible generous mind that is willing to step off our path to be with You on your mission.