San Salvador, El Salvador en route to Houston, Texas
There are not many feelings worse than not being able to find something you absolutely need, especially when you are far from home. As we prepared to leave for the airport this morning, one of our team members experienced that feeling — in fact, we all experienced it! A last-minute call to make sure that everyone had all their gear loaded onto the vehicle and their passports in hand resulted in one missing passport. Yikes! No passport means no trip home but instead a trip to the nearest consulate for a replacement, which sometimes can take days. Needless to say the owner of the missing passport rechecked baggage and backpack to no avail. Team members checked under beds, in the bathroom, in the laundry, and every conceivable place where a missing passport might be hiding. Nothing! Finally, one of our guys checked the sofas where we sat for morning devotionals and found the missing passport tucked beneath the cushions. Relief — a very big relief, indeed, followed by rejoicing!
Our missing passport incident this morning reminded us of the joy in finding and recovering things of value that once were lost. Jesus talked a lot about lostness and even defined His mission in this way: “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10). To seek requires intentional action and, in many cases, a commitment to exhaust every available resource and avenue in the search. To save is an action that affirms the value of what was found. In Luke 15, Jesus told three stories about things that were lost and then found — a lost sheep, a lost coin, and a lost son. These three stories share common themes including the great rejoicing that followed finding what was lost. They also illustrate that the intensity of the rejoicing is in proportion to the value of what was found. That’s why Jesus said “there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15:10). Notice that this verse does “not” say the angels rejoice but rather that the One before whom they stand rejoices.
Since Jesus defined His mission in terms of seeking the lost, then we cannot go wrong by doing the same. This week an act of kindness in El Salvador opened the door for our team to connect with the lost. Through the efforts of our hygiene team, several came to faith in Christ. Others in the village of Las Tablas vowed to not forget the kindness of God in providing a water well for their village. Perhaps in the months and years to come that water well will serve as a compass to help someone who is lost find their way home. According to Psalm 119:91, all things are God’s servants. I believe that God can even use a water well provided in His name to serve His purposes, including helping the lost to find their way to the One who is the source of living water — something that always fills heaven with the sound of rejoicing!