H.H. Staton, in his book, “A Guide To the Parables of Jesus” , tells the story of having been on an ocean liner headed to the Middle East. Nine hundred miles out to sea a sail was sighted on the horizon. As the liner drew closer, the passengers saw that the boat – a small sloop flying a Turkish flag – had run up a distress signal and other flags asking for its position at sea. Through a faulty chronometer or immature navigation the small vessel had become lost.
For nearly an hour the liner circled the little boat, giving its crew correct latitude and longitude. Naturally there was a great deal of interest in all the proceedings among the passengers of the liner. A boy of about 12, standing on the deck and watching all that was taking place, remarked aloud to himself – “It’s a really big ocean to be lost in.”
Spiritually speaking, it’s a really big universe to be lost in, too. So, what can you personally do to help someone who is spiritually lost find their way to safety? Here are three action steps that all of us can do:
Pray. Reaching the lost all starts by you and me inviting God to show His power to the ends of the earth, starting right here and right now. Pray that the number of workers will increase and volunteer to be an answer to your own prayer. Pray that doors of ministry will open. Pray that believers will walk in wisdom toward outsiders and pray that we will all speak with winsome clarity (Colossians 4:2-4).
Invite. Every study and survey I’ve ever seen shows that non-church attenders are very open to an invitation to visit church from a friend. You are a walking billboard for Jesus. Not all of us can teach like Peter but more of us can invite like Andrew.
Show hospitality. Show the welcoming, accepting love of Jesus through your face, your smile, and your words. Be a friend to someone when the church gathers and continue that friendship outside the church building walls. When we gather, look for confused looks and new faces. Go out of your way to welcome. Speak first.
Show hospitality by offering to help the newer person find their way to a class or the nursery. Get their name and offer to sit with them next week. One of the most important persons here on a Sunday is the guest who is trying to connect with Christ and one of the next most important persons here is the church member who is seated near the person who is trying to connect. If Christ is in your heart, you are a missionary and every heart without Christ is a mission field even if that heart is only one pew away.
It’s a big universe to be lost in and the really good news is that no one has to stay that way. The Good Shepherd is not willing that any should perish (2 Peter 2).
There is an old song with a fantastic message which I hope becomes an anthem for every believer:
“Lead me to some soul today; Oh teach me, Lord, just what to say; Friends of mine are lost in sin, and cannot find their way.
Few there are who seem to care, and few there are who pray; Melt my heart and fill my life; Give me one soul today.”