Encouragement for Today
Micca Monda Campbell, Director of Outreach, Proverbs Speaker
Key verse: Luke 15:4, 6, "Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.'” (NIV)
This summer, 70,000 people around the world will go missing. They will either leave home, runaway, or disappear from some worrisome situation.
I’ll never forget the day when my son went missing – I told you about it in last Monday’s devotion. We lived in a newly constructed neighborhood on a dead-end street. All of the families were young and had children of similar ages. Since there was only one way in and one way out of the block, we felt safe allowing the children to play from house to house. Most of us were stay-at-home-moms so there were several eyes to watch over the brood.
One evening, I stepped out on the front porch and called Mitch home for dinner, but there was no response. Returning to the kitchen, I waited a few minutes to see if he had heard me call. No answer. When he still didn’t show, I began phoning the neighbors. Panic struck my heart when no one had seen Mitch all afternoon.
My husband and I began a door-to-door search for our son. When he didn’t turn up after checking every house on the block, I asked my husband, “What do we do now?” He looked at me intently and said, “We need to call the police.” His words sent cold chills throughout my body.
“How long has the boy been missing?’ the officer asked over the phone.
“He’s been gone for at least an hour that we know of.” answered Pat.
The police told my husband to gather some dirty clothes from our son’s room. They were on their way with the hunting dogs. Our neighbors began to fill our lawn armed with flash lights and ready to search when the authorities arrived. I just stood there shocked. This was not happening to me. This was something you see on the news. It couldn’t be real. It just couldn’t.
While we waited for the police, family and friends began to arrive. By now, there were so many people gathered on our front lawn, I almost missed the van that pulled up in front of our house. It was one of our neighbors returning home from a baseball game at the park – with our son. Mitch was safe!
Unfortunately, others are not so lucky. I can still recall the day the twin towers were tragically destroyed. Motivated by love, I watched helplessly as family members walked the hazardous, dust filled streets caring signs and photos of missing spouses, children, parents and friends. My heart ached for them, as I’m sure yours did as well. It didn’t matter whether we knew those who were missing or not. Our response was the same. We united in prayer for their return.
What compels us to get involved? Why did my neighbors give up their evening to help look for my son? Why do we pray for total strangers to be found? We search and we pray for the missing because of love. Even if the missing person is a stranger, we pray, because it’s what we would want others to do for us.
In the same way, I wonder how many Christians are motivated by love for those “missing” in Christ. Have you ever thought about many people are missing spiritually from the family of God? We never see their faces flashed across the TV or their photo pasted on a milk carton. All the same, they are still missing. They could be in your neighborhood, at your place of work, in your school and even in your church.
Our heavenly Father’s heart must ach for His lost children. He has given us the responsibility to pray, search, and lead them home. Are you praying for your lost neighbor? Do you share your faith at the grocery store and with the people you work with? What are you doing to help the missing find their way home?
That dark day, when so many came out to search for my child, I thought of John 15:4, 6 "Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.”
My husband and I were overjoyed when our son stepped out of that van and back into our lives. Likewise, all of heaven celebrates when we, in obedience, seek the missing and lead them home.
My Prayer for Today:
Dear Lord, give me a burden for the lost. Forgive me for my apathy. Open my eyes to see the hurting and provide opportunities for me to share my faith and Your gift of forgiveness and eternal life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
God has commanded us to share our faith with the lost. We have the answers they are looking for. We know the way home. Prepare a brief story to share about where you were before you came to know Christ, how you found Him, and what your life is like now. Then, when the opportunity arises, you’ll be ready to share Christ and experience the joy that comes after you’ve helped some one find life everlasting.
How often do you share your faith?
Are you a Sunday morning Christian or an every day of the week Christian?
Do others know to whom you belong, or do you keep your faith a secret?
Would others know they could come to you with their burdens? Why or why not?
Mark , “He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.” (NIV)
Acts 1:8, But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in
Hebrews 6:10, “God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. “ (NIV)
Personality Plus by
The P31 Woman Magazine
Thoughts, Quotes and Scriptures on Mentoring, ETC Corner October 2004
Originally published Monday, 10 July 2006.