How distressing it is when something of value to us becomes lost. It could be something important, like a wallet, purse, phone, keys, or jewelry. Or it could be items of little value to anyone but us, such as a hat, glove, or even just a shopping list. Any or all of these have most likely been misplaced or forgotten at some point in our lives. And how often we find the item later right where we left it—usually unnoticed or undisturbed. Then again, someone else may have discovered the lost item and taken it with them.
We hope that the finder will not keep or discard it, but will take it to the nearest lost and found.
Most offices, stores, restaurants, schools, and other locations have some area designated for lost or misplaced items. It might consist of something as simple as an open cardboard box, or be as secure as a safe or lockbox. Retrieval of the lost item may be as easy as digging through the box until the item is found. Otherwise, we will need to describe the item and may have to show identification before the missing object is returned to us.
Many people today are like these lost articles. But the situation is not that someone lost them, but that they became lost on their own.
They once had a good, close relationship with the Lord, but somewhere along the way they became distracted and drifted away from Him. It wasn’t a deliberate separation, but rather more of a subtle withdrawal. They may still occasionally go to church, but the joy is no longer there—it is just a ritual or routine to make someone else happy. Reading the Bible has become boring and dry. They may make a comment like, “Who has time for prayer these days? Besides, God doesn’t respond anyway. It’s like talking to the air.”
They will often find other things more enjoyable, like taking up a hobby again that they put aside years ago, or traveling to places that they have wanted to go to all their life. They may also become more immersed in their work, due to increasing bills and expenses at home. It might be a sudden windfall or increased dividend from one of their stocks that renews their passion for the stock market more than God.
Whatever the reason, they gradually reach the point where they feel that they cannot return to the Lord.
There is a slight longing for Him, but they refuse to give in to it, and soon develop the mentality that they will never be good enough for Him to accept them again. Yet they still just can’t seem to shake off that desire for Him, no matter what they do.
Does any or all of this sound familiar? Then you need to know that it doesn’t have to be this way. Like sheep wandering in a large pasture, you may have become lost from the Shepherd. But the Shepherd did not lose you.
Jesus loves you so much that He will never completely give up looking for you. He would rather give up His life than to lose one sheep that has drifted away.
“For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost. How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray? And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray. Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish” (Matthew 18:11-14).
In the parable of the prodigal son, the son left his father and lived a lavish life, squandering all that his father gave him. Then he finally humbled himself and returned home. He intended to go to his father and admit his wrongdoing and unworthiness to be called his son, with the intent of just becoming one of his servants. But when he arrived, instead of placing him in a yoke of condemnation, his father declared,
“Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: and bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found” (Luke 15:22-24 emphasis added).
In a similar manner, our Heavenly Father wants to place a robe around you, put a ring on your hand, and shoes on your feet—if you will just return to Him. Don’t feel that you have crossed a point of no return, or be too ashamed to come home and be called one of His children again.
Like the father of the prodigal son, your heavenly Father eagerly desires for you to come home.
No one is capable in his own efforts to make himself right enough to come before God. This is the reason Jesus sacrificed Himself on the cross. Through the death of His Son, God made a way for us to be able to come before Him at anytime, anywhere.
Don’t put it off any longer. Don’t let pride or embarrassment keep you away. Come back home to Him, today. Admit your sins and seek His forgiveness. Then He will welcome you home with open arms and remind you how much He loves you.
You don’t have to remain lost—call out to the Lord right now and you’ll be found.
Give Him a reason for rejoicing!