Day #10 | The Most Excellent WayPosted on January 22nd, 2012.
Luke 15:1-10 (NKJV)
Then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him. And the Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, “This Man receives sinners and eats with them.” So He spoke this parable to them, saying: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance. “Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I lost!’ Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
Jesus placed great value on all people. He loves us and demonstrates His love through actions. He consistently spent time with the people. The religious leaders of his day were bigoted and intolerant and criticized Jesus for His close fellowship with ‘sinners.’ He ate with them! How dare He welcome such a low class of people? Jesus had a different perspective. He realized he couldn’t save them until they loved Him too. Intimacy is built by spending quality time together. The more meaningful experiences you have with someone the deeper your affection for that person becomes.
Jesus also understood all of heaven’s view of God’s great creation. God made man in His image. Our rebellion didn’t nullify God’s love. On the contrary, it strengthened His resolve. He is determined to restore intimacy with us, all of us, all those who will accept him. Jesus illustrated this truth by using a common example of something helpless yet valuable: Sheep. He said that He would leave the safe ninety-nine and search for the lost one. The lost one is an important one — unique, special and greatly loved. When He finds it, He carries it home rejoicing. All of heaven rejoices when a human life sets back into their rightful place as a child of God. It’s a big deal.
Another story He told was the parable of the woman and the coin. The woman searched the whole house diligently until she found the silver coin. She lit a lamp in the darkness and painstakingly looked everywhere for this one silver coin. She recognized the inherent value in each coin. One does not carry greater value than any other. Each has great value. So do you. So does each member of your family, your friends and even your enemies. What effort should you make in restoring their relationship to the living God? Heaven rejoices when they repent and restore their relationship with God. I rejoice too. Let’s all celebrate together. God is love. Renew the spirit of excellence within your heart by loving those around you. Release the past and sweep your heart and find the treasure of a restored relationship.
Connect to a person in your life that doesn’t know God. Show them the Lord by demonstrating the love of Jesus. Practice on your family. How? Be loving to those nearest to you. Love means sacrifice. You already know that. As God’s love in you takes over your heart, the sacrifice will diminish. It will shrink until it doesn’t feel like a sacrifice at all. It will feels like victory — like its time for rejoicing.