Seeking the Lost

Today’s reading is Luke 15.

Don’t read the three stories in today’s chapter separately. Here’s the amazing thing. If the shepherd lost a sheep, he would chase it down, then gather his friends for celebration, and they would all join him. If the wife lost a coin, she would hunt it down, then gather her friends for celebration, and they would join her. But here is a lost person. Not only does the brother not go seek him out, he refuses to celebrate when the lost son shows up on his own. Here is something I’ve never thought about. I have often looked at this parable and thought a little highly of myself  because when people show up on their own, I celebrate. However, I have to ask, how often do I go out in the open country? How often do I sweep the house? How often do I seek diligently? Jesus, the example of the truest older brother, came into the world to seek and save the lost. He came into the foreign country, found me slopping with the hogs, and died to save me from it. I need to follow His example instead of the older brother He talked about in this story. Yes, if the lost show up on their own, we should rejoice with them. But let’s not wait for them to show up on their own. Let’s go looking for them.

Monday’s reading is Luke 16.

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Pleasing God, Not Men

Today’s reading is 1 Thessalonians 2.

The hardest part of disciple making for me, besides just getting started, is wanting people to like me. I don’t quite understand why. I believe I have the greatest news I can give to others, and yet, I fear they will not like me when we’re done. That brings the temptation to cut corners, leave out bits I think might be unpopular. But Paul sets the example for us. He wasn’t teaching out of any desire for personal profit or pleasure. He wanted to please God who tests our hearts. At the end of our efforts to make disciples, may our goal be not to please men, but to please God. May our goal be not to benefit from the people we teach, but to benefit them with truth that truly saves. What a great opportunity we have. Thank You, God, for this opportunity.

Tomorrow’s reading is 1 Thessalonians 3.

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Accursed & Cut Off

Today’s reading is Romans 9.

Talk about wanting to make disciples. Paul wanted to make disciples so badly, he said, “For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh.” Think about what he is saying. He is talking about following in the footsteps of Jesus. As Jesus was made a curse on the cross and cut off from the Father for the salvation of all mankind, Paul is saying he wishes he could do the same thing for his fellow Jews. No doubt, only the sacrifice of Jesus saves, and if folks won’t submit to that, Paul’s sacrifice wouldn’t help them either. What an example for us. If I’m not willing to get outside my comfort zone or experience a few moments of social awkwardness, I could never declare I would be accursed for others. However that is what Paul was willing to do and what Jesus actually did. Let us follow in their footsteps.

Tomorrow’s reading is Romans 10.

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