Focal passage: Mark 2:3-12, 15-17, 23-28
A young man stood at the corner where my friend and I paused for a traffic light. His sign read, “Homeless. Please help.” He was young, well kempt, and somebody’s child. His pleading eyes pierced mine. I handed him a dollar.
“God bless you,” he said.
“God bless you, too,” I replied.
“You threw your money away,” my friend scolded. “He’ll probably use it for drugs.”
“If so, I’d rather err on the side of grace,” I said.
Later, the Holy Spirit convicted me. Why hadn’t I handed him, along with the dollar, a tract explaining how to know Christ? Then I reminded myself that if he didn’t know Jesus, Jesus knew him. I would pass that way again the next day, stop at the light, and hand him a tract.
The incident lingered in my mind, proposing questions. How many of my friends were unbelievers? Did I avoid interaction with people different from myself?
At 19, when I became a Christian, someone advised, “Make new friends.” In time, I married a minister, lived my life behind stained-glass windows, rubbing shoulders almost exclusively with Christians.
What about the friends I enjoyed during the B.C. years of my life? Were they lost or found?
While drawing my circle to enclose other Christians, had my circle shut out the very people for whom Christ died?
Jesus said, “The Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10). He later described three ways people become lost (Luke 15).
Some are lost through foolishness. Short-sighted like sheep, they wander away, one blade of grass at a time. Preoccupied with things directly in front of them, they stumble into new follies.
But the Shepherd seeks the lost sheep until He finds them and brings them back into the fold.
Others get lost through no fault of their own, but through others’ carelessness. Like the lost coin, they retain their value, but, out of circulation, they render no service.
Still others get lost like the prodigal sons, through pride and rebellion. One ran away and wasted his life; the other refused to share his father’s concern for his brother.
That day at the traffic light, I showed no spiritual concern for the young man with the pleading eyes. The next day, I approached the light excitedly, my eyes searching for him.
He was not there.