What gets you celebrating?
- A birthday?
- A graduation?
- A promotion?
- A baby’s first step?
- A new house?
- A new car?
- An engagement ring?
- A winning shot?
- A home run?
- A goal?
- A hole-in-one?
- Landing a big account?
- Watching your stocks rise?
- Making a sale?
- Seeing a long-lost friend?
HOLD IT! Go back to that last one: a long-lost friend. Focus on the word “lost” for a moment.
I lost a devotional once. I had labored for an hour-and-a-half when I accidentally erased it from my computer’s hard drive. I was distraught. There was no way I could resurrect it. If I had to start over there was no way I could get the words just right.
I had that sinking sick feeling.
Then I remembered I had printed a draft earlier, but had tossed it in File 13. Without the slightest hesitation, I made a beeline for the office garbage can. Unashamedly and methodically I picked through the trash until I found it.
I was elated—over a piece of paper.
In Luke 15, Jesus tells three such elation stories. The stories focus on a lost sheep, a lost coin, and a lost son. Each story ends in celebration. Why? Because what was missing had been found! Jesus is driving home a very important point:
We see this in the refrain of joy that follows each story:
- "Count on it—there’s more joy in heaven over one sinner’s rescued life than over ninety-nine good people in no need of rescue."
- “Count on it—that’s the kind of party God’s angels throw every time one lost soul turns to God.”
- “His father said, ‘Son, you don’t understand. . . . we had to celebrate. This brother of yours was dead, and he’s alive! He was lost, and he’s found.’” (Luke 15 The Message)
If what we search for is what we value, we know what God values—lost people—and not just the “nice people" who are lost, but those folks who we think will never turn to him.
As I read Luke 15 I wrote, “heaven’s joy” in the margin of my Bible. Why? Because heaven's joy is seeing people who are far away from God come home.
Jesus did not sit passively waiting for the wandering ones to return. He intentionally arranged his life to rub shoulders with the doubters and unbelievers so he could show them and tell them about a better way.
Wouldn’t it be great to know there was a party in heaven because you built a relationship and then told someone about Jesus? Wouldn’t it be exciting to know that you were in some small way responsible for heaven’s joy?
Yesterday, in our study Acts: Empowered For Jesus' Mission, we learned that we are all "preachers" empowered by the Spirit for Jesus' mission.
If you are like me, you can probably use a little help with your "preaching." Here's an article that describes how to build some more winsome relationships with people who don't believe. It's entitled, "Humble Evangelism." It has helped me take some "next steps" toward the big heavenly party. Click here to check it out.
Today, why take note of what gets people excited. When you see a little celebration let that be your reminder of a bigger -- more important -- party in heaven. Then pray for someone you know who is far away from God.