Every day in America about 2,180 parents make a panicked phone call to the police to tell them that their child is missing. That call is made every 40 seconds. 800,000 kids in America wander away from their homes only to meet someone more than happy to be with them, or get lured away from their homes, or get dragged away from their homes.
800,000 children in America are abducted every year. And you don’t care. And neither do I. Let’s be honest. If we did, we’d already know those numbers. If we did, we’d be doing something about it.
What would make you care is if it was yourkid. But it’s not your kid, so you don’t care. (If you did, you’d already know those numbers, and you’d be doing something about it.)
The problem is that when we hear about how 8 million less people are going to church in America, and how the fastest growing religious group in America is “None,” and how atheist groups are one of the fastest growing on high school and college campuses, we don’t care. We say we do, but we don’t really. They’re just numbers. It’s not personal. It’s not our child.
But it is God’s. Those are God’s lost children. God’s kids who have wandered away from him, been lured or dragged away from him. Can you imagine how much God cares?
This is why Jesus tells the story of the lost sheep and the shepherd who turns over heaven and hell to find it. Because that lost sheep represents God’s lost child.
This is why when Jesus went through the towns in Matthew 9 and saw the crowds he “had compassion on them.” Compassion is translated from the word “splagna” and literally means to have your intestines twisted. When Jesus saw the crowds he felt sick in his stomach. Why? The Bible says “because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” He saw people who were like abducted kids without their Father, and Jesus couldn’t stand seeing people who were separated from their God. So Jesus says to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Jesus begs them to ask the Lord, to pray, “Pray,” he says, “that someone will care. I know they’re not your kids, but they are God’s kids. Please pray that people will join me in my mission of seeking and saving God’s lost and abducted children.”
And you and I get the honor of being the answer to Jesus’ prayer.
That’s our direction, our path, our mission. We get to help God’s lost and abducted children go home.