Three year old Joshua Childers wandered away from his two parent mobile home wearing nothing but a t-shirt, tennis shoes and a diaper earlier this year. His father, Adam fell asleep tired from working the night shift while his mother was on the phone.
Local officials, neighbors, friends and strangers mounted a massive search and rescue effort according to published accounts. Three days later the little toddler was found in the Mark Twain National Forest in his t-shirt, one tennis shoe, no diaper, but not worse for the wear. Probably in the back of the boy’s mind was a thought – this is not a trip to be taken again soon.
Joshua is a blessed little boy. He has a two-parent family. He wandered away and people were concerned enough to look for him. People who meant him no harm found Joshua, and returned him to the lifestyle he was accustomed.
In Luke’s gospel, there are a series of stories detailing the account of the lost. There is the coin lost somewhere in a darkened environment. There is the son who walks away from home. There is the sheep that wander away from the flock.
The woman lights a candle and goes looking for the coin. The father waits for the prodigal to return. The shepherd leaves the 90 and 9 and goes looking for the stray lamb just like Joshua’s parents, law enforcement and volunteers went looking for him.
Many children go missing everyday, and this is just one of the more poignant and obvious things to use in an illustration of a time when each of us might drop everything at a moment’s notice, without question, to serve and help others who you maybe do not even know.
I’m so thankful that we have our Savior who cares enough about the walkers, wanderers, and willful who go missing in action in our communities. There are those missing in our churches. Who goes looking for them? Who goes looking for those who wander away from bible study? Who mounts a search effort for those who walk away from worship services?
Who cares about those who are lost in a spiritual wilderness with only a t-shirt, tennis shoes and a diaper? While we are struggling with the struggle in our comfort zones being about being busy, who goes looking for the lost these days? Who gleans the fringes of the fields? Who is going after those who don’t deserve service and are a drain on your resources? Is the harvest still plentiful and are those who serve too few?
I don’t know about you, I do not want to miss those opportunities any more! We all have daily moments when a random act could change a life, a smile could make a day, or just picking up the phone might say to someone—I’m different because of the Christ in me, I care. Sometimes making that step out in faith, could save a life for someone on the brink of suicide, keep a marriage together for someone who feels unheard, help someone cope with illness, aging parents, joblessness, or just being lonely.
Shining that light out into a dark world, bringing hope of something more, something that will quench a thirsty heart, awaken a desire, heal those who feel somehow broken, unworthy, or as if there life is a complete mistake.
I read this week, God does not make mistakes!! We are fearfully and wonderfully made by him! He knew each of us before we were born, when we will still in the womb, he called us by name for his purposes and has good plans for us. It made me think of the land of misfit toys in the classic Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, what a wonderful reminder that we are all wanted, acceptable, perfectly created by a maker who loves us so very much, and is just waiting for us to give our hearts to him in service, servant hood to others, as we all have our moments to shine for him, to take our place in the body of Christ as a vital piece of his ultimate work.
To bring his message of love and acceptance to all people, our neighbors, our communities, and our employers.
The question rings from heaven again today, as it did for Isaiah – who will go for us? And the response is what? Will it be here I am Lord, send me? Yes, I will serve, how about you?
May God Grant Blessings to you this week