How do you feel about seeking something that's lost?

Trinity Pres Church copy

If you ever played hide-and-seek, did you ever really love being the one who was doing the seeking? I hated it. First, it meant that I had been caught first in the prior round when I had been hiding (so it felt like I had failed). Second, I always had a sinking feeling of dread, wondering inwardly, “What if I can’t find anyone?

Jesus said that He came to seek and save the lost. Further, He described Himself as the kind of shepherd (a good one) who would leave 99 sheep of His flock in the sheepfold in order to go hunting for one single, lost sheep. So, it is in the heart of God to be on the hunt for His lost ones.

Biblically speaking, everyone who believes is an object of having been sought. We are not the initiators, the seekers, or the ones on the hunt. We are all those who have turned aside to our own way (Isaiah 53). Before Jesus rescued us, we were the wayward, the rebellious and the lost.

One of the wonders (and mysteries) of God’s sovereign grace is in how God’s Word says that He has “been found by those who did not seek Me” (Romans 10:20 quoting Isaiah 65). It doesn’t mean that we don’t “find God.”  It’s saying that we weren’t seeking Him. We have all been convicted of seeking His created blessings rather than seeking Him, but in the bitter vanity of our flight from our Maker, He nonetheless is the One we end up “finding.”  How is that possible? Because He is able to work all things together (even our sinful flight from Him) for our good, in Christ Jesus. As King David prayed, “You hem me in, behind and before” (Psalm 139).

So if Jesus is the gracious One who would seek those who had not sought Him, what happens when we come to our senses and we’re converted? As people who are redeemed by the One who seeks, we are pulled into His mission. We, who once roamed waywardly, now enter into the work. If you think of yourself as a Christian, have you ever considered that our Lord intentionally included you in His work of seeking and saving the lost? My old Baptist friend, Todd Milby, put it another way when he once asked me, “Do you own the lostness of your geography?”  Said another way, do I sense and own God’s mission to seek others who, as of yet, remain lost? Or do I think, “That’s someone else’s job!”?

Admittedly, not everyone has the same spiritual gifts, but we all share the same mission. We are not all alike, but we are all part of His one body (see 1 Corinthians 12).

How do we differ? Not everyone is gifted in evangelism or communicating the Gospel. Yet, how do we work together? Everyone is called to confess Jesus as our God and Savior. All of us are called to love God and love our neighbors, being hospitable and living out the fruit of the Spirit. And as we work together, exercising our respective gifts and talents, we enter into the Lord’s ongoing mission of seeking and saving the lost.

You may not feel confident about explaining the Gospel or even theological beliefs. But you can share how you came to faith. You may not know how to lead a Bible study, but you can invite someone to church or your community group. You may feel like you don’t know much about “ministry,” but you can pray for someone, and you can befriend them. You are not alone! And none of us were ever meant to go about this mission all by ourselves. We are His people; we’re His family and all workers together in His harvest, on assignment seeking others just as He has sought out each of us.