“For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” — Luke 19:10
We all know what it’s like to be lost, where we can’t find our way home or to a certain destination. It’s one thing, though, to be turned around and lost on the road. But it’s another thing to be lost spiritually, where the end is destruction (Rom. 6:23). The Bible describes two types of people: Those who have been saved by the blood of Jesus Christ, and those who are lost. Just like Jesus’ mission was to “seek and save” the lost, it must be ours as well.
See lost people as lost: That should bother us. It should bother us to the point of action. Do we see those who are lost as souls who will spend eternity in hell, or do we see them initially as friends, co-workers, neighbors, classmates, etc.? In Matt. 9:35-38, we get a look into Jesus’ heart. He saw souls. He saw lost souls. We must learn to look at people who are lost; who need direction, care and love. We must see and appreciate that everyone’s soul is valuable. More than anything, Paul wanted people to be saved (Rom. 10:1). Do we?
Accept our responsibility to the lost: It’s your responsibility, it’s my responsibility, it’s the church’s responsibility. Not everyone is going to obey the gospel, but how can anyone obey it unless they’ve heard it (Rom. 10:13-17)? You and I have the information—the message from God—and know judgment is coming. What are we doing with it? Let’s get out of our comfort zone. Let’s be a little more assertive. Again, for Paul, it was all about the lost. He was all about the gospel (II Cor. 11:23-28).
Let the lost know there’s a better life to live: Being lost doesn’t have to be a permanent condition. We don’t have to stay in a lost condition. The Shepherd is willing to take great risks to save you (Luke 15:1-7). In fact, He made the greatest sacrifice of all, carrying our sins upon His shoulders to the cross so we could have the hope of eternal life. We, who were once dead, have become alive (Eph. 2:4-7). You, too, can be made alive to “walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:4).
Paul writes in I Cor. 9:22 that “I might by all means save some.” Are we, by all means, doing what we can to save the lost? We rub elbows with a lot of people in our day-to-day lives. Give them your time, energy, ears; shine the light of Jesus on them. The most important thing we can talk to people about is not the weather, sports, education, politics, etc. It’s their soul and the gospel of Jesus Christ. We may write off people because of the way they dress or talk, how much money they make, what they drive, etc. But God can save anyone. Jesus says in Matt. 16:26, “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” The only thing that matters is where our soul will spend eternity.