My team and I were privileged to accompany a local pastor to visit a remote village in Indonesia. Although this village is on an island, they have very little access to water. They live inland. Rain falls about 3 months out of the year. The rest of the year, they find themselves having to travel 15-20 miles for water. Bathing is difficult and remains a rare luxury that takes place every 4 to 6 months. Electricity is not found in their village. Education for the children is virtually non-existent. They live in a distant place and everything is out of reach, but Jesus finds everybody.
Few people were at home the day we visited, but the man to whom these hands belong was there. His job was to take care of the village idols. It was an important job within their community. Every day, his hands would hold these mute, handcrafted idols. The entire village had great affection for these lifeless and helpless trinkets.
We shared Jesus’ rescue plan of salvation with this man and some others who were gathered around. He saw that Jesus gives life. No dumb idol can give that. Jesus forgives when no idol cares or offers any word about our needs. This man may have been considered uneducated, but he could see real value. The hope he held in his hand was no hope at all. He found new hope in the person of Jesus Christ; alive in heaven and helping on earth. It was amazing to see this man’s countenance change. It was like watching a lost child being reunited with a loving parent. His face was filled with all the wonder and excitement that accompanies new found love.
Jesus’ message of salvation is to include all people; from the White House to those without a house. Without exception, He desires ALL people to be saved. He has come to seek and to save that which is lost. (Luke 19:10) Whoever is lost, Jesus intends to find them. Will He be able to find them through you? Jesus wants you and I to take part in His “seeking mission.”
We are called not just to be witnesses, but to be seekers. If our witness is going to be meaningful, then we must care enough to seek others; even in the most remote regions of the world. Every soul matters. Lost or found, every person belongs to God. Many are lost, but that does not mean that they do not have a place to belong. God is a seeking God. He seeks what is lost to Himself. They have a place with God, in Christ. In that place, their life finds meaning, dignity and significance.
It has become popular for people to say that they seek God’s heart. Others claim to have “God’s heart” or that they are “a man (or woman) after God’s own heart.” I suppose that what they typically mean is that a person may generally be very compassionate or they often desire to be spiritual. Maybe they have a reputation of praying a lot or doing things that seem to have spiritual significance in one way or another. Or maybe they are just really trying to be better people. Whatever the intent, it shows that believers in Christ wish to become better representatives of Jesus. That desire is correct no matter how it is said. A follower of Christ understands that they represent Jesus’ heart; the heart of God. So if they truly wish to represent God’s heart, then we should show what God is like.
If I wish to be an effective witness, then I must also become an effective seeker. If I wish to know what God is like, then I must also be a seeker of lost people. Jesus came “to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10) He has never changed His mind or His agenda. His witnesses must be seekers if they are going to represent a heart like His.
To find what is lost, we must seek what is lost. If we are not soul-seekers, then we cannot be soul-winners.
If we give up on God’s agenda of finding people, then we have given up our greatest employment opportunity. If you don’t come ready to work, then you will also miss out on all of the drama, victories and rewards that come along with work. Those who do not seek the lost will often feel useless because they have made themselves unusable to God. They do not have His “heart” because they are not doing the same work.
We cannot know what God is like unless we are involved with what God is doing. And that is our choice to make. Knowing Him is not based on spiritual merit or how nice of a person we seem to be. It is a choice. If we do not choose to seek the lost, then we are losing our own sense of who God is. Without work, He appears to be the God of leisure and lavish living; a wealthy figure who pampers His children.
A good father will only pamper children who are babies or those who choose to remain infants because of some mental condition that prevents them from growing into mature, usable persons. His love for them will never change; He will not cast them aside, but those who chose to “never grow up” remain as infants and will never be fully engaged with the work of the Father.
Subsequently, they will never know what it is like to be used by God. They will never know the true joys that come along with being a seeker.
By not seeking the lost, we can become distracted and eventually “lost” ourselves! If we are not soul-winning, we are “soul-losing.” We become the opposite; losing the meaning, dignity and significance that accompany a life that follows after Jesus.
Seek, and you will find. Seeking people. That is what is important to God. Many people try to impress God in many ways. Some try it through prayer and fasting. Others try the more intellectual advantage through memorizing Scripture. While these are good and necessary, it does not impress Him. He is not impressed by our words, knowledge or achievements. But He does notice those who notice what He is doing! He notices soul-winners; those who actively seek the lost.
The lost are lost to God. His greatest joy is for a sinner to be found and returned to Him. We may not be able to impress God by our many tricks and talents, but He does love us and we can live in a way that brings Him joy. We can be seekers and soul-winners.
The man living in this remote place in Indonesia was found because someone went to seek him in Jesus’ name. Someone sought him and he was saved by Jesus.
The man’s hands are not holding idols anymore. The useless trinkets are no longer his most valuable possession. He found out that he himself is God’s most valuable possession because someone came to find him.
He had nothing to offer. His trinkets were worth nothing. Everything he held was worthless. He was the only thing God wanted; the only thing Jesus had come for. His hands are empty, but He is now in the hands of the living God. He had been sought and found.
Who else can be found and placed into the loving hands of God? Who can be saved? Who will be found, depends on who will seek.
Let us seek and find what is most important to God.
Jason is founder and evangelist for The Nations Hope and lead pastor of Life Tree Church in San Jose, California. He talks a lot.
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