God Pursues The Lost
Have you ever felt lost? I know I have. But in the lost moments of life God whispers an invitation deep into our hearts, “My child, let yourself be found.” And He doesn’t stop until we are held, whole and treasured; …This God whose love is deeper than the sea, taller than the mountains and wider than the sky, loves your every breath. Every one of us holds an impossibly special place, deep inside His heart.
That must be why whenever one who was lost is found, God celebrates. He hangs the decorations, orders the food and throws a party! How does God party? Jesus says He runs out to meet us, throws His arms wide around us, places royal robes upon our shoulders, sets His tables with the best of the best, opens His doors wide, and calls out loudly to His friends and neighbors to come “whoop” it up with Him! His child who was lost has now been found! Because His never-stopping, never-giving-up love pursues us. And it’s His love that changes everything.
One day as Jesus began teaching, sinners and tax-collectors pressed near to hear Him speak. But stuffed into the corners around them were pockets of religious leaders and experts of the law. (Luke 15) What were they doing there? Were they listening? As the mixed crowd watched and heard the voice of God, did those public paragons begin to understand what God celebrates? Does He celebrate perfection or humility? For hundreds of years God’s people had practiced being separate from the world. They were called to set themselves apart from idol worshippers and sinners; to be holy as God is Holy. God wanted them to be different so the world could see what a people belonging to God was like. And when they followed God, they must have been truly attractive to a world fractured by sin and evil. But somewhere along the way they lost the heart of God’s call to be holy. They had the “what” down, but forgot the “why”. They subtly shifted to operating as though being holy was somehow about exalting themselves instead of exalting God.
And so Jesus, being led by the Father, sat down at table (Luke 14) with some of these polished-up people to crack open a glimpse into the tender and deepest heart of God. He began by weaving a story, and then another, that revealed God’s deepest desire to the very ones who were struggling with their own desires to discard both God’s Son and His bride. Could the ears of their hearts hear what God revealed? Because you see:
It’s not that God is Holy so He rejects us. It’s that God is Holy so He pursues us.
His. love. is. relentless. He never gives up on us. Even if we give up on ourselves. His kindness keeps looking for ways to break into our lives.
“A certain man was preparing a great banquet [Party!] and invited many guests. At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had ben invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field.’ …’Another said, ‘I am trying out my new oxen.’ and another, ‘I just got married.’ The servant reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.” From Luke 14:15-21
The Pharisees and religious leaders were busy with “business as usual” and somewhere along the line missed what God was really up to. They disregarded the Master’s invitation and were missing the party! We too, can be busy with “busy-ness” as usual and miss the party. Somewhere in the big swirling noise of all our responsibilities and concerns, some of us living in the Father’s own house find ourselves hiding. Maybe we are hiding from a heart thats compelling us to love big; to embrace sinners; to accept ourselves. Maybe we are afraid to be broken. Because having God’s heart for the lost will break your heart. But it will also heal it. God’s love pursues both the run-away younger brother and the hiding older brother (see Luke 15).
When I look at Luke 14-15 I see that God’s plan to save the lost, also rescues the found. When we live and breathe God’s heart to pursue the lost, we find ourselves. This is our purpose in these earth-timed days. So let’s dance at the party instead of sulking behind the barn! When we turn our hearts to what God turns his heart to, we experience the anointing, the favor, the grace of a God whose heart is poured out upon the hurting and the hopeless. And when that happens… when God’s heart is poured out through us – gushing and rushing, we realize what true living is really all about. And when you have partied in the middle of that kind of heavenly “downpour”, you will realize what’s really worth celebrating. Amazing grace, how sweet the sound. I once was lost but now I’m found.
God Pursues The Lost. In the church where I’m on staff, we have a saying, “Jesus loves the last, the lost and the least.” So we do too.
If you’ve enjoyed this discussion based on Luke 14 & 15, sign up to follow this blog (in the sidebar) as we go through the Life Journal reading plan.
If you have a few minutes, I hope you enjoy this song that calls out to us with the heart of a God who pursues: