Summary: God loves the lost. God loves the found. Who do you know that is lost and needs some spiritual direction? How much effort are you placing in your life in spreading the Gospel?


LUKE 15:1-10



I want you to imagine a very busy shopping center. Perhaps it is your favorite mall. Maybe it is even Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving and there are sales after sales and the shopping center is wall to wall people. It is loud. It is hurried. Every vendor and shop is full of people purchasing. There are smells of the cookie companies baking fresh cookies. The smell of pretzels in the air is strong in certain parts of the mall. Dippin’ Dots are being handed out by the bowl-full. There is music from a local radio station in the background touting that you should shop shop shop.

I also want you to imagine a father and son walking through the mall. The father and son are hand in hand. They look alike… he is his father’s son. People brush by them often as they try and make their way through the crowds. The father decides to stop at a vendor and look at some sun glasses. He points his son to a nearby bench and asks him to sit while he shops just a few feet away.

The mall is filled with sights and sounds that were amazing. The video game store across the way had huge posters of the latest games. The boy’s eyes grew big as he saw the possibilities of what he could have. The boy looked all around from his bench and spotted a store filled with every kid’s wishes… a toy store… right behind where he was sitting. The little boy looked up at his father, hopped off the bench, and ran over to the window in front of the toy store. People rush by him constantly, not noticing him, as they go on about their business shopping.

He pressed his nose against the glass.

His breath caused a small fog on the window.

The boy looked inside and saw all sorts of toys he had seen in commercials on TV. He liked them. He slowly inched his way down the window looking at all the displays. He would stop for a second and then move on. The very next store was a chocolate store and he just had to look in those windows as well. He slowly inched his way down the window as he saw the different chocolates. Chocolate cookies. A cake. Some chocolate covered pretzels. Something that looked like chocolate covered bugs. Some things with nuts and some things without.

About that time, the father finished paying for his brand new pair of sunglasses. He turns around to retrieve his son from the bench directly behind him. He was gone. His son was gone. The father had a huge knot well up in his stomach. His throat hurt. His eyes dashed to and from the bench frantically looking for his son. He did not see his boy anywhere. His son was lost.

He turned back around to the cashier at the sunglasses stand and asked her if she had seen his boy. She had not. The first person who bumped into him as they walked by had not seen the little boy either. The father vainly looked under the bench to see if his son was playing a trick… but of course he was not there. He was not on the neighboring bench either.

He called out his son’s name, but in the hustle and bustle of the mall and the noise of commerce, there was no way for him to be heard. His son was gone. His son was lost. He had looked and looked and had not found him.


What does it mean to be lost? If you were to simply look up the word ‘lost’ in the dictionary you would find that it is a surprisingly complicated word. There are a lot of small changes to the word lost that make it a significant word.

On the surface, the word lost simply means “unable to find one’s way.” That makes sense. Those of us who are directionally-challenged often find ourselves lost. I would tend to think that men stay lost longer than women because of our reluctance to ask for directions, but that is my opinion only. But “unable to find one’s way,” is not the only definition of the word.

Also, the word carries with it the idea of “vanished or spent or no longer in existence” such as “lost youth” or “lost sock.” The word can also mean something that is “no longer known or practiced” such as “a lost art.” There are many ways in which this word is used… six according to the dictionary I consulted.


I guess though, the kind of lost that I think of when I use the word lost, is the classic definition, “unable to find one’s way.” I am lost on the way to the store. I am lost on the way to pick up kids from camp. I’m lost because Indiana doesn’t put street lights on any street anywhere. I am “lost” because I spiritually cannot find my way and I do not know God.

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