"Are you lost?" he asked me. "May I help you find something?"
"Oh, no, um, thanks," I stammered, a bit taken off guard. "I'm just in a hurry."
And off I went.
Obviously the look on my face must have given him the wrong impression. I wasn't lost, I knew pretty much what I was looking for. Right?
Sure, it had been one of those weeks where schedules were crammed and my mind was racing. I had been less than patient with the kids and frustrated with how some things just weren't working out the way I wanted them to go. I hadn't been focused in my devotional time lately and the prayer life, was well, rote.
You know how it is. Lately, it was just hard to keep perspective. It isn't easy being a Christian nowadays with all of these distractions and demands on time and energy. But I wouldn't say I was lost...
This week in worship we hear the parable of the lost sheep and the lost coin. They are two parables Jesus tells to the Pharisees when they are feeling bitter that Jesus is spending so much time eating with tax collectors and sinners. Jesus is spending precious time with those who are considered unrighteous. The religious righteous wonder, "What about us, why won't he spend time with us? That's not fair! We're the ones doing everything right and following the ways of the law, not THOSE heathens!"
As a result, Jesus brings to the Pharisees attention that they, the righteous, are lost. For the Pharisees can not see how judgmental they have become, and he calls them to repentance. So apparently those that call themselves righteous can get lost too. Even when we are following the rules and going through all the motions of faith, we can still get lost.
We can get lost when our own cries of self pity deafen us to the cries of the needy. We can get lost when our own sense of importance in tasks and jobs becomes our predominant identity. We can get lost when we don't value another person's ideas because they don't match our own goals. We can get lost when our devotional time becomes routine and our praise is out of obligation rather than true joy of the Lord.
...As I was leaving the store holding my bags of purchases, I met the same gentleman at the door. I was grateful for what his simple question had brought to my attention.
"Did you find what you were looking for?" he asked kindly.
"Yes," I said. "Yes, I did. Thank you."
This Sunday, let us give thanks to the God who always seeks to find us,