Ezekiel 34:16 “I will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away, bind up the broken and strengthen what was sick; but I will destroy the fat and the strong, and feed them in judgment.”
It is so natural, after being rescued, to simply go back to your life, to business-as-usual. After a harrowing experience, you’re yearning for normalcy. You want to—and sometimes do—forget that hopeless, horrifying moment of being forgotten in darkness. Going back there to warn others is hard work—and trying to rescue others in those perilous places sounds risky. It’s true—many of us fear the lost, and because of that, we’re reluctant to go out into the world to seek them.
Why would we fear the lost? Maybe because, often, they’re so needy and desperate. We’re afraid that they will attach themselves to us, leech-like, and beg for one thing after another: our time, our money, our emotional support, a place in our homes (“just until I get back on my feet”), a ride to work—and on and on.
Or we might fear them because they are so “other” than us. A different lifestyle and different life choices. They may have different language and clothing styles, different food and music preferences, and a different sense of humor. Will they accept us? Will they laugh at us behind our backs? Will they despise us even as we sacrifice for them? Are they, perhaps, even a danger to us? Might they be willing to take by force those things we don’t offer freely? Will we feel uncomfortable, uneasy, in their midst?
When Jesus urged Peter to feed his sheep, he didn’t offer a list of excuses he would accept. “Feed my sheep—unless it becomes inconvenient or the sheep become too demanding. Feed my sheep—unless you’re afraid of the big ram who protects the flock. Feed my sheep—unless you’re afraid they’ll charge you, snatch the food out of your hand, and trample you.” He just asked Peter to feed his sheep.
For the desperate, the hungry, the oppressed, for those in pain, no rescue can come soon enough. And when the lost call to us for rescue, God doesn’t command us to be supermen. He commands us to be willing. He’ll do the rest.
There are so many who have no way out, unless we rescue them. The words of the prophets take on new meaning. Isaiah 6:8 records a vow that comes from the place of knowing what it means to be rescued: “Here I am, Lord. Send me!”
Point to Ponder
Are you willing to say to God, “I remember what it is like to be lost, and I’m ready to be sent out to rescue others?” It’s a commitment born of thankfulness.