Have you ever been lost? I mean really, really lost. So lost that you had no idea where you were and no idea how to get back to where you’d started; so lost that you had lost your sense of direction. Have you ever been that lost?
I’ve been lost like that a couple times and it was really scary. I wasn’t lost in the way that Daniel Boone was, just wandering around until I found my way out. No, lost like I didn’t think I’d ever find my way out without divine intervention. Has that ever happened to you?
I was just talking about being lost physically, without a map or a GPS. Thinking about being lost in a different way, have you ever been lost spiritually, in the same way, not knowing how to find the light or a way out?
In both instances it takes, I believe, divine intervention, help from God, the creator to find our way out.
Now some folks never, ever, get lost, never. They have an innate sense of direction and they just know how to get back home without any help. Wouldn’t that be great? Sadly, I’m not one of those people.
Think about what you do when you discover, or finally admit, that you’re lost? Do you call a friend for help? Do you take out your smart phone and call up the GPS app? Do you open the glove compartment and pull out and unfold the paper map to get your bearings and find your way home? What’s your fall back plan for when you get lost, if and when you do, get lost?
Okay, what if you discover or find out or admit that you’re spiritually lost? What do you do? What’s your fall back plan in that event?
What do I do? My first reaction after I’ve said, “Shoot, I think I’m lost,” I pray. I pray when I’m lost in my car and I pray when I find myself lost spiritually. Prayer is my fall back plan in both cases.
But what about those folks who never get lost or never know they’re lost even when they are in fact so lost they’ll never find the light without help? Could the folks who never take a wrong turn be lost? Could the people who never know they’re lost actually be going in circles? How will either one ever get un-lost?
They may not realize they need to pray because they don’t know they’re lost. And if somehow they found out they were lost they might very well not know what to do.
Someone has to do something, but who? That’s a very important question, who will help.
Let’s look back at the very beginning of what we heard in the gospel this morning. The Pharisees and religion scholars were grumbling about the folks Jesus was associating with; they were “sinners and (he) eats meals with them, treating them like old friends.”
What’s with that? Doesn’t he realize he could become contaminated by their sin? But, on the other hand, who else is going to help them, the Pharisees, the scribes? That’s not likely is it? So, their only hope is Jesus.
And therein lies the answer, the only hope is Jesus. Our only hope is Jesus. And how can Jesus help them…or us?
The two stories Jesus told what do they have in common? Both stories are about something being lost and someone who goes searching and finding the lost.
So, if we’re lost who comes looking for us? Luke says that Jesus was eating with sinners.
Does Jesus eat with us? Do we invite him to join us at our tables? Will he come even when we don’t invite him?
Friends, the lesson God has been trying to teach us is that he’s been looking for us forever. He came here in the person of Jesus the Christ. He took all our sins upon himself and died for us on the cross. He was the ultimate sacrifice for us. He took all the blame for the wrongs we’ve done and the wrongs we will do tomorrow.
Jesus took them with him to the grave and through him we’ve been made clean, spotless before God, our Father.
Jesus is knocking at the door of our hearts and is waiting patiently for us to open them and invite him in. Even though we are sinners he comes looking, searching endlessly for us. He wants not one of his children to be lost forever.
And when one more sinner is found the angels throw a party. There’s a whole of rejoicing going on when one more fallen person opens the door and Jesus comes in.
Friends, we’re all lost and we need a new GPS to find our way back to the Light of the world, Jesus. God is calling you today. We’re all lost and we all need Jesus to help us find our way back.
How’s that going to happen? It will happen when we pray for each other and ask for that divine intervention I mentioned earlier. God hears our prayers and he’s there with the answer, His Son, Jesus, the Christ, our Redeemer.
That’s God’s grace my friends. We can’t pay for it, we can’t earn it, and we can’t pay him back for this gift. We just have to hold out our hands and let him lay his grace on us.
What are you going to do now? Are you going to admit that you’re lost and you need, you desperately want someone, anyone, to find you?
God loves you, my friend, and his grace is all you needs. Thanks be to God. Amen.