Loving the Lost and the Found
I used to consider the term missional as little more than a trendy buzzword on the cover of contemporary Christian books intended to help us “stay relevant.” I wrote it off as some here-today-gone-tomorrow Christian fad and never cracked open a single page dedicated to the topic.
But then I became a stay-at-home mom. Sort of suddenly, I was three kids deep and swirling in Dr. Seuss books and battery-operated toys. I was definitely entering a new chapter in my life…and groping for some clarity on exactly what the purpose of my story was.
And so began a one-year journey to pin down my true calling - not just as a mother, but as a Christian woman. God filled my heart to the brim as He showed me what I had been missing.
Without notice, the term “missional” took on new life. Really, it was re-birthed in my mind as something it always was – the CORE of our Christian faith. How could I have forgotten it? We were called to go and make disciples, to love the lost, to share the gospel!
Yes, even mommies. J
The reminder of this calling sank deep into every crevice of my dry heart. As He stretched my capacity for the lost and the broken, I began to re-evaluate everything our family was doing - how we were spending our time, our money, our resources. My heart was filling up and making room all at the same time.
And it was soooooooo good.
BUT….this is where it gets tricky. Because in the midst of this amazing journey…
I completely lost God’s presence.
I know, I know. It’s odd isn’t it? But here’s the deal. I made a VERY crucial mistake…
I worked to develop a missional heart for the lost…and completely forgot about God’s missional heart for ME.
It wasn’t until Urbana 2012 a couple of weeks ago that I came face to face with myself in the story of the Prodigal Son. And it floored me when, for once, it wasn’t the prodigal I related to…but the older brother.
No, no. Of course I wasn’t a grumpy brat who was mad at the father for throwing parties for the lost – I LOVED the lost!
But…I was the older brother who had found himself outside of the father’s house, separated from the love of His father.
HOW did I get there?
As a real-life prodigal, God showed me how much He loved me in my “lostness” when He welcomed me home after years of wandering.
But it’s hard to grasp that He also loves me in my “foundness.” Slowly I began to subscribe to the older brother’s belief that being a faithful servant means less attention from the Father. After all, His heart is for the lost…
And before I knew it, I was wandering out to the field to work, getting further away from the warmth inside.
So subtle, yet so dangerous.
BUT…notice at the end of the story, the father reminds the older brother, “My son, you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.”
We have a Father with unlimited resources. He is fully capable of loving the lost AND found…It’s not an either-or. Yes, He loves the lost. But He loves the found, too. We never graduate from it. Though we may move out into the world on mission, we NEVER, EVER move out of the Father’s house.
So, like the older brother, let’s serve faithfully. Let’s be missonal. Let’s go and make disciples. Let’s love the lost and preach the gospel.
But like the prodigal…let’s always remember home.
Nicole is a wife and stay-at-home mom to three energetic children in Lake Villa, IL. In addition to writing, she enjoys serving as the Care Team Leader for her church's MOPS group and is also a part of the Sunday worship team. Other interests include performing Improv, venturing outdoors...and pretending to be a chef, thanks to the Food Network. Nicole has a heart for "getting real" with other women and helping them discover Jesus through honesty, empathy, and the power of "me too". Connect with her at MotherhoodConfessions.com
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