Luke 15:7 New Living Translation (NLT)
7 In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!
In Luke 15, Jesus was being questioned about who he was hanging out with… In the beginning of the chapter tax collectors and “notorious sinners” came to listen to Jesus teach and he would even eat with them. The religious leaders were beside themselves. Why not hang out with who are already a part of the team instead of those people? Jesus then tells three stories from his heart regarding the lost and why we should be concerned with those who aren’t a part of church; The lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son. In each, Jesus is helping us understand his heart for his people.
God is not okay with people not being a part of his story and he wants to use us to change that! He loves the 99 to use a number from the lost sheep parable, but the one that is lost is very important to Jesus so they MUST be important to us! The danger as the people of God is that we can become to inward focused and thus, lose sight of our mission. Our mission is not only to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind, but to love our neighbor as well - without exception! Don’t get me wrong, we should develop a deep sense of community within our churches that is attractive to someone who visits us. The church is where we find and do life together! But there are still MANY outside the walls that are living a story that doesn’t truly satisfy.
How do I know? That was me! My family didn’t go to church growing up and I was invited back to church in 8th grade by my best friend. I walked into confirmation class on a Wednesday night, scared and wondering if I would be loved and accepted. My pastor looked at me and said with deep sincerity, “I’m glad you’re here!” I was in!!! Because of that, the trajectory of my life was changed forever. A simple invitation is a powerful thing!
My question as we prepare our hearts for Easter, is who is the “one” in your life? Pray that God would stir in your heart an idea for invitation. It might change their life!