Valuable People (Luke 15:1-10)

Can you be lost, but found, at the same time? I don’t mean “once was lost, but now am found” (cf. the hymn “Amazing Grace”) as if that meant that you’ve crossed over to a perfect state where you’re no longer apt to go wandering--that’s not what the hymn is saying, but it could give that impression to some. I’m talking “lost” when left to our own devices but “found” because of God’s mercy to us through God’s Son Jesus Christ, and so “lost but found, AT THE SAME TIME.” I’m referring to an attitude where we live out each day like a sheep that has just wandered into a thicket, a coin that has just rolled behind a dresser, yet knows the joy of its owner who celebrates upon finding it and holds it close. When the Holy Spirit teaches us that we are lost but found we can’t help but also discover just how valuable we are.  We are so important to God that it took the death of God’s own Son to rescue and redeem us. When we recognize that we are lost, but found, our attitude to other lost sheep like us begins to change. When we see how valuable we are we begin to see how valuable all people are…and the role we each have to play in God’s mission to all the world.

St. Paul talks about being lost but found like this: “Christ Jesus came in to the world to save sinners—of whom I am the foremost. But for that very reason I received mercy, so that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display the utmost patience, making me an example to those who would come to believe in him for eternal life” (1 Timothy 1:15-16).

Next Wednesday we will launch our neighborhood small group ministry in six different parts of our area: California, Hollywood, Leonardtown, Lexington Park, Lusby, and St. Mary’s City. The goal is not simply to enjoy one another’s company, though the event will certainly allow us that. This is a chance for us sheep who are lost (but found!) to encounter other lost sheep like ourselves, and point the way to the Good Shepherd who celebrates upon bringing us home. Today we also highlight our church’s involvement in the mission of the church worldwide. By our congregation’s support of John & Jenna Wolf (and family), we are connected to lost sheep in Kenya and throughout Africa. From one lost sheep to another: thank heaven for God's amazing grace! We all might have different gifts. But we all have a role to play...we all have treasure to share...that we might work on behalf of lost sheep everywhere.