Some experiences are branded in your memory. One such experience for me was when I got lost in the Chicago airport when I was 6 years old.
My family was returning home from vacation and had a layover in Chicago. While deplaning, I had this “great idea” to run off ahead of my family and surprise them somewhere down the hallway. I can still see me running, weaving in and out of the crowd of strangers, and then jumping behind a wall to lay in wait for my family to walk by.
The problem was they never did. And when it became apparent to me that they weren’t going to, panic set in and I began to aimlessly wander the concourse, screaming for my mom and dad. I had no idea where I was walking—I couldn’t see through my tears. I was quite certain at the time I would be lost to them forever. But then I heard the soothing voice of a gate agent as she knelt down beside me asking me what was wrong. And then she picked me up into her arms she took me to the gate where she called for my parents.
In recalling that traumatic experience, I have often wondered what would have become of me had nobody considered it their business to help a lost child find his mom and dad. Yet how convicted I am when I think about how little I give that concern attention when it comes to the lost people who walk by me every day.
That was always Jesus’ concern. In the verses we read to today from Luke 15:1-7 we read about Jesus being criticized for Jesus spending time with sinners and tax gatherers. “…This man receives sinners and eats with them,” they grumbled. Jesus’s response was simple: they were lost and they needed someone to help them find their way home. “What man among you,” Jesus asked, “if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety nine, and go after the one which was lost until he finds it?” (Luke 15:4).
This is Christian hospitality: with every interaction with others; with every conversation; every time we share our time, our space, our resources with others—we are helping the lost them find their way home.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, grant that I would share the joy of bringing sinners to repentance, and the lost home. Amen.