One of the most frustrating things I encounter on a daily basis is losing things. Whether it’s something insignificant like a bracelet or something more valuable like my keys or money, it is such an inconvenience to backtrack and remember where I last was when I had the missing item! If losing material things can cause such frenzy in my everyday life, I can’t imagine how the Lord feels when one of His children, knowingly or unknowingly, is lost.
It is so comforting to know that no matter how far one has gone, Jesus will never hesitate to reach down and pull us up – if we are willing to be reached. Such willingness is demonstrated in Luke chapter 19 as Jesus was passing through Jericho. The crowd of people was so large and loud that a man named Zacchaeus climbed a tree just to get a view of Jesus. After seeing him in the tree, Jesus told him to come down quickly saying “…Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for today I must abide at thy house.”(vs.5) But the most important part of this exchange was Zacchaeus’ response: the text says, “And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully.” (vs. 6)
Zacchaeus could have been content with the view of Jesus, but he wasn’t. When Jesus saw him in his position, he called out to Zacchaeus and told him to come to Him.
Jesus will always call out to his children when he sees a better option for them. Zacchaeus didn’t have to stay in a tree and watch when he had the opportunity to come down and interact. It was, however, up to Zacchaeus to accept Jesus’ offer. Our Savior leaves us with the final decision as to whether or not we will choose to stay in a certain position. We have to decide if we will be like Zacchaeus; to make haste, come down and receive him joyfully.
I remember being in a store in a mall and hearing a child search for his father. He frantically ran through different aisles yelling “Dad! Dad!” A short time later, his father coolly approached him and said “I’m right here, it’s okay.” This child wasn’t exactly lost; he just got separated from his father. This story can be identical to the relationship we have with our Father. We may not be exactly lost, but because of our childlike choices, we’re separated from the presence of God. We like sheep have gone astray (Isaiah 53:6) but the Good Shepherd is there to keep us. When we think we’ve gone too far we can call on Him and He is there to step in saying “I’m right here, it’s okay.”
As humans, we will never be perfect and cannot avoid some of the mistakes we make. We can, however, make a conscious effort to evade getting lost. Proverbs 3 verses 5-6 tell us to “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”
When I was younger and I would walk with my father in the winter, falling snow would get in my eyes and I couldn’t see. My father would tell me to close my eyes as I held his hand and he became my eyes. Since he loved me, he wouldn’t allow me to get hurt because he knew I couldn’t see what he saw and since I trusted him, I allowed him to lead. Was I still cold? Yes. Did I occasionally slip on the wet ground? Absolutely. But there was something about being led by my father that made everything alright.
God works the same way. We have to travel through some less-than-perfect conditions, but we can to trust Him with all that is within us. If the Lord is directing our paths, we’ll never get lost.
Luke 19 verse 10 says “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Whether a person has the ‘Prodigal Son’ experience or just gets a little disconnected from God, there is hope. Jesus is not just saving the lost; He’s seeking them as well. Ezekiel 34 verse 16 says “I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick…” There isn’t a valley low enough, or –in Zacchaeus’ case— a tree high enough, that will make us unworthy of the Lord’s love.
Whenever you make the decision to be found, know that it’s not the way you left that matters, it’s the way you come back.
Come back with a love for the Lord that you’ve not had before, I guarantee that’s the way He’ll receive you.
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