A while ago a short statement of Jesus hit me in a new way: “For the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost.” (Luke 19:10) It’s a familiar statement to anyone who grew up in Sunday School singing, “Zacchaeus was a wee little man….” Clearly he had reached a point in life where the money and benefits of his tax-collector profession weren’t working for him anymore. He was ready to be found.
That idea, and Jesus’ statement, sums up the heart of the missionary. We don’t go to other places looking to “spread our religion”. Instead, I like to think of it as, “Excuse me, may I love you?” We go looking for hurting people, knowing they are everywhere, and that perhaps by just showing up, as Jesus did that day in Jericho, a miserable life, resigned to hopelessness, can be turned around.
Indeed, in our 14 years here we have seen some pretty amazing turnarounds. We are all works in progress, and these precious lives are no different. But there is progress, where before there was only struggle.
Today “Jane” snuck up from behind me in our coffee shop to give me a hug. Last night she had messaged me about feeling terrible about her parenting. Indeed, living for years “out there” she had done some wrong things, not to mention the extra challenges she faces as a single mom.
But Jane is bright and insightful, and in all her struggles she works hard at healing and growing. Today she was happy. She had just read Isaiah 29, and felt like its promises were directly for her:
In that day the deaf will hear words read from a book,
and the blind will see through the gloom and darkness.
The humble will be filled with fresh joy from the Lord.
The poor will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.
Last night Jane’s 11 year-old daughter became her encourager and counselor, asking her to pray and not punish herself. “My daughter is leading me,” Jane gushed. “Thank God so much that He brought me to The Well.”