2009-11-11 / Religion

'The Joy of Finding'

Pastor James Scarborough, Donalsonville Assembly of God)

I have had more than my usual episodes of misplacing or losing things lately. Thankfully, most of the items that got separated from me were rather quickly recovered.

I had a couple of books to escape me for awhile. One of them was a book that I use as a reference in premarital counseling. After searching through my personal library, I found it. The other book was one that I am currently using in a Bible study at church. When I went to get it to prepare for the lesson, it was not where it was supposed to be; my notes were there, but the book was gone. Not a good thing when a study series is underway! I searched the house, both cars and the church--all to no avail. I was so sure that it was gone for good that ordered a new one in hopes that it would be in my hands within a week.

As is often the case, my lovely wife found my book within just a few minutes after arriving at church. Granted, it was in a most unlikely place and not highly visible, yet she went right to it. (Should I be suspicious?)

But I did lose something that remains a mystery--a pocket knife given to me a few years ago by my youngest daughter. I have carried it almost everyday since then. Even though it had become a bit worn, it was special because she gave it to me. Indeed, it was a disappointing loss.

From these simple experiences, I have found both the joy and relief of finding what was missing, and the continued disappointment over what has not been found.

We are reminded in the Bible that there is rejoicing in Heaven when a sinner comes to Christ and receives everlasting life. In Luke 15, Christ uses an illustrative story about a person who lost one of his sheep. As the story goes, the shepherd had a hundred sheep and only one of them was missing, yet he left the 99 in order to search for that one. When it was found, great rejoicing took place. The Lord explained His purpose for telling the story with these words: "I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in Heaven over one sinner who repents than over 99 righteous persons who do not need to repent" (Luke 15:7, NIV).

Most of us know the happiness that we feel when some lost item is found, yet that emotion, as tremendous as it might be, completely pales in light of the intense joy in Heaven when a sinner comes to Christ. That rejoicing comes because of God's deep love and compassion for souls.

If we will allow the Holy Spirit to help us get a better understanding of how horrible the consequences are for sinners who do not repent and come to Christ, and how wonderful His lifetransforming love and forgiveness are, we, too, will become more joyous about souls coming to Christ.

If you are among those who have not surrendered your life to Christ, do so by faith, so there will be reason for a joyful celebration to be heard in Heaven. And if you are already serving Christ, do what you can to lead others to Him. There is truly joy in finding those that are lost!

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