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Don't Write Them Off

Don't Write Them Off

21 July 2010

Today’s Reading: 2 Kings 18-19; 2 Chronicles 32; James 5

Scripture:

19 My dear friends, if you know people who have wandered off from God's truth, don't write them off. Go after them. Get them back 20 and you will have rescued precious lives from destruction and prevented an epidemic of wandering away from God. (James 5:19-20 MSG)

I know people who have wandered off from God’s truth. Whenever I think of this I remember one guy named John who came to faith in Christ in the Jesus People Days. He was passionate for Jesus, was a great singer-song writer and guitarist and had a powerful prophetic gift. He wandered off from God’s truth in the late 1970’s. Things had happened in the church, he had been deeply hurt, and it wasn’t entirely his fault. My friend Jerry and I went to his house to talk with him, but I’m afraid we didn’t approach him with a very Christ-like message. John turned his back on the church, on his faith, and would never talk to me again. We didn’t get him back.

12 “Look at it this way. If someone has a hundred sheep and one of them wanders off, doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine and go after the one? 13 And if he finds it, doesn’t he make far more over it than over the ninety-nine who stay put? 14 Your Father in heaven feels the same way. He doesn’t want to lose even one of these simple believers. (Matthew 18:12-14 MSG)

I still know of people who wander off from God’s truth and sometimes I end up writing them off. I usually don’t do it consciously and intentionally, but I write them off functionally. What happens is that because I’m so involved with ministry and personal stuff, I don’t notice that they’re wandering off ‘til they’re gone. And then when I do notice, it’s hard to fit “going after them” into my schedule because I don’t see them at church anymore. Or maybe it’s simply that my “One lost sheep versus the ninety and nine” quotient is out of whack.

Anyhow, I’m convicted by James’ message and by the Holy Spirit that I’m functionally writing wanderers off by not going after them more aggressively and intentionally. Maybe it’s just me, but I need to do better. What do you think?

Prayer:

Father, I want to be a better shepherd and a better friend. Please work in my heart to help me get my values right and my priorities straight. I want to value wandering sheep like you value them. Please adjust my “Going after one lost sheep versus the pressures and busyness of ministry to the ninety and nine” quotient. Amen.

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