Yesterday, in light of the text of our message at church, I told the following story. Our scripture focus was the parable of the Lost Sheep (Luke 15: 3-7).
The story is true…I know the little girl very well, although I never knew her as a little girl…
There once was a little girl, who lived out the truth of her redheaded-ness. She was mischievous and had a definite mind of her own. She lived in the city of London, many years ago. On this particular day, it was a hot summer day in 1936, and she was about 7. She had decided that she was not happy with something that had happened at home, and determined to take matters into her own hands. So she ran away.
Her family noticed that she was gone, and began to look for her. After a considerable time had passed, her daddy started to get worried, and knew he needed help to find her. Remember that this was not long after the Great Depression, and money was not readily available. Her daddy knew that if he called the police and fire departments, he would have to pay.
But his daughter was very important to him, and that’s just what he did. He paid $200 for the assistance (that’s about $3200 in today’s money). It was much more money than he could afford, but she was special enough that he had no other choice. So, with the additional people looking for her, the search intensified. The little girl could hear the people calling her name, and the whole time she was thinking, ” how powerful am I?” What the searchers did not know, was that the little girl was hiding in a garbage can in a park, not very far from the little girl’s home.
Remember that I said it was a hot summer day? That little girl, despite all her plans, could not help but be affected by the odors that the hot, rotting garbage were creating, and she got sick to her stomach not something that could be done quietly. Her daddy stood very quietly and listened – and it was by her reaction to the smells – that he was able to find her.
As I told that story, it occurred to me – how much like our Heavenly father is that? When we decide that we need to hide from him (we really are descendants of Adam and Eve), we often find a spot where we are sure He will never find us. And that usually involves garbage. That garbage can be all kinds of addictions: drug, sex, shopping, social networking, alcohol, gambling, etc…), or we seek out self-damaging situations, or dabble in “enlightened” paths that lead us away from God (occult, Eastern spirituality). We kid ourselves into thinking that we are “powerful”, and don’t need God in our life. Being so immersed in this garbage, will eventually make us sick – not always physically (although that can happen), but emotionally, and spiritually. So, what does God do?
He continues to find us, and the extra help comes in the form of everyday people like you and me. People who know Jesus, and want to bring you back to safety. And the cost? God gave us everything He has – His first-born Son. Jesus, that baby born so long ago, was born crucified. His first day as fully human, began the countdown to the greatest rescue ever. He died to pay the price for you and me. It cost him everything, and he did it willingly. Just because we are that special to Him.
When we know this, we need to share that good news with other who haven’t met Him yet. Listen to the heart cries of your friends and family from inside their personal “garbage cans”. Introduce them, through your love and care, to the One who came to lift us out…