By George Bowers Sr.
Emergency workers have been frantically searching for the Malaysian Airliner, Flight 370, for over a month now. The efforts to find the missing plane still dominate many news broadcasts. Every new ping and each new piece of floating debris is reported globally as grieving families seek closure and as an anxious world looks on.
Such intent searching reminds me of two parables Jesus told in Luke 15 about a lost sheep and a lost coin. In each instance careful diligent searches were made until the lost items were recovered and there was great celebration when they were.
Jesus told these parables for several reasons, but one of the most obvious was to help us see the painstaking effort he goes through to seek out the spiritually lost. Even though he knows exactly where a person is physically 24-7, we have all strayed from him spiritually and lost our way.
In his attempts to bring us to himself, Jesus has enlisted his followers to be his search team. Just before he ascended back to heaven, he commissioned them to go into all nations and continue his work of seeking and saving that which was lost. It is still the duty today of every born again believer to search just as diligently for lost souls as it is for those in the Indian Ocean who are seeking the missing plane.
Instead of audible pings, however, we need to listen for cries for help. They may come in the form of questions about the meaning of life, the purpose of suffering, or the destiny of mankind. They may also come in the form of sobs and groans when life has been particularly difficult. And they may come as cries for financial or practical assistance. As search and rescue experts, we need to keep our ears open for any cries from lost souls and respond appropriately. Their transponders are often on, but sometimes our receivers are not.
Instead of floating debris, visual signals of spiritual need will more often appear as drug or alcohol addiction, splintered relationships, angry outbursts, tears of anguish, or other outward demonstrations of inward pain. Whenever we sense a need, let us immediately respond with God's love and the good news of Jesus.
In this technologically advanced age, it's hard to imagine that no one knows what happened to Flight 370. And yet many of us are unaware of what's going on in the lives of those around us simply because we've never taken the time to look or listen. If we spent just a fraction of the cost and effort of the airliner search on rescuing lost souls for Jesus, what eternal results would we see? I want to encourage all believers to actively search for others in need of salvation and to do all we can to bring them safely into God's fold. Blessings, George
George Bowers Sr. is the pastor of Antioch Church of the Brethren in Woodstock and the author of four books, including his latest book of poetry, "Wit and Wisdom of the Woods." He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.