Our Mission to the Lost
“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 eats with them.” “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?” Luke 15:1-2, 4 NIV
Marcus has been coming to Dinner Church and usually sits quietly by himself. I have sought to have a conversation with him but he’s not able to say much. He has a problem, not with speaking but addiction. His mind is numbed by the drugs he takes.
It is hard seeing Marcus in his condition. He seems lately more entrapped in his addiction and less able to communicate with us. I don’t know the details, but Marcus has somehow fallen into a life of drugs and homelessness. Even those who come from a good family can find themselves lost in the world of poverty and addiction.
Jesus came for those who have wandered away and become lost. He was greatly criticized for his mission being aimed at those who society viewed as lost and unworthy of their concern. Even religious people can be lacking understanding of the lost. They view the lost as deserving of their predicament. That is why Jesus told the parable of the lost sheep.
His image of the shepherd going way out of his way to reach the lost sheep is powerful in demonstrating God’s love for the one person who has gotten lost. The value of one person, no matter how bad that he or she has become, or how far down he or she has fallen away, is underscored. Lost sheep are not pretty or attractive. They are messed up and dirty. They often don’t smell nice. But God loves them.
It is very difficult to reach a person who has fallen into the entrapment of addiction, but it is possible with God’s help. Through Christ, Richard was one who was successful in overcoming his past addiction and has faithfully served in the ministry of Operation Find and Feed. He regularly helped us at Dinner Church with our clothing ministry. He was a kindhearted and faithful man of God. This past week he died unexpectedly, and we all grieve his loss and pray for his family.
I have hope that the power of drug addiction can be overcome in Marcus’ life. My heart goes out to him, but it is hard to reach him. Our prayers are for him to become aware that Jesus is reaching out to him, and that he’ll want to get the help he needs. The meals and the clothing that we have given to Marcus are simple ways to show him God’s love. Last Wednesday he ate two fried chicken meals and six valentine cupcakes! We gave him another meal and 3 cupcakes to take with him.
The lost in Jesus’ parable are not limited to only the obviously needy like the drug addicts and homeless. We are all “lost sheep” who have gone astray. Isaiah 53:6 says, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way, and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” We all need to be rescued.
Come support and be a part of Christ’s mission to the lost. In the midst of serving the lost, we find ourselves being found by God’s love.
May God’s Peace be with you,
Pastor Jim and Debby Riley