In Luke 15, Jesus tells this story: “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders. …In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!”
I’ve always loved this parable because it makes me think…what kind of a person would risk it all, just for one sheep? An amazing, loving, and sacrificial person, that’s who! This is a person that I want to know. More than that, this is the person that I want to become. This is exactly who God calls you and me to be; people who do whatever it takes, all to save one lost “sheep.”
In this journey you and I have taken through our EXPLORE newsletter mini-series, Starting Route To…Your Future, we have learned much about what you will experience in SEND North America, the discipleship training for young adults. This “stop” in the journey is one of the most life-changing. The mission aspect of SEND truly allows you to live out your faith, and fulfill God’s command to make disciples, serve the “least of these”, and be a light in the darkness.
SEND mission excursions focus on saving the lost, and will take you places you’ve never been—- literally and spiritually. You will serve the hungry, pray for the weak and wounded, encourage the hopeless, and share the gospel with those who have never heard the truth of redemption. You will travel to places in Central America that are so desolate, the gospel has never been heard there. You will provide clothes, food, and the gospel to people in urban areas of the U.S. where hunger, homelessness, and desperation are rampant. You will truly be a light in the darkness.
As a fair warning, you can’t live a missional life, and not be changed in the process yourself. You cannot experience living life the way God calls us to and stay the same! As God works a miracle in the lives of those that you serve, God will also change your heart. God will use you to make a difference in someone’s life that will change them forever. He will use you to impact one person at a time, and make a difference in the world. All you have to do is be willing.
As we see from the parable of the lost sheep, this mission of ours is exciting! It is rewarding and it brings true happiness and joy. Changing someone’s life is an incredible experience that we are privileged to be a part of; what a blessing to have this task! As the parable says, “…there is joy in Heaven over one lost sinner who repents.” You will experience this joy when you act in mission, filling others’ needs, physical and spiritual. The people you serve will never be the same. And neither will you.
The message is pretty clear from Jesus; this is His plan for us, to go into the world and save the lost “sheep.” So let’s get to it! Let’s share our hope that we have in Him. Are you willing to be sent where He calls you? You will be blessed beyond measure, and will be filled with joy.
Mackenzie “Kenzie” Ritchie