The Lost Are Found – Week of September 12, 2022

There will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.
Luke 15:7 (Read all of Luke 15:1-10)

As someone who works with young children each day, you can likely relate with a shepherd. You come in from recess and realize one child didn’t make it back to the classroom. Suddenly you spot the child, huddled behind a bench in tears. “I didn’t know where you went,” she sobs. You wrap your arms around her and utter a prayer of thanks.

Today’s reading is from a chapter of Luke that is sometimes referred to as “the lost and found” chapter. This chapter tells about the one lost sheep, the lost coin, and the father whose younger son was lost from the family. In each parable, the point of the story is the same—the angels of God rejoice over the one that returns. Imagine the sound of their rejoicing! What a moment—all for one.

What can we learn from these parables? First—every individual is precious to our heavenly Father. You are precious to him. When he says he wants all to be saved, he means it deeply. Second—he wants the lost to be brought back. In the parables, the shepherd went after the lost sheep and the woman took significant measures to find her lost coin. They were relentless in their efforts. You and I get to be a part of that. Each day as you serve young children and their families, you have the privilege and opportunity to tell them about their Savior and also to model and share Christ’s love and forgiveness for them. The heart of all we do in early childhood ministry is sharing the gospel—the good news of our Savior Jesus.

You may know a family member, friend, or neighbor who is lost. Perhaps they were once connected to their faith and have wandered away. Some may be struggling with sin and its impact on their lives. They weigh heavily on your heart. You want them to know grace and the peace that comes from God’s forgiveness and mercy. Sometimes you have the opportunity to speak directly to them. Pray for God’s guidance and blessings on those conversations. Sometimes the way that you show love and grace can be an encouragement and witness. Ask God to draw them back to him. Pray for opportunities to share your faith with them, and then ask with confidence for the Holy Spirit to work in their hearts.

You and I don’t always get to see the lost return to faith. If you don’t, continue to pray, reflect God’s love, and share his message of grace with patience, trusting the work of the Holy Spirit. When God blesses you with an opportunity to see someone who was lost come back, let the rejoicing begin along with God’s angels. Wrap your arms around them, literally or figuratively, and thank God for someone lost who was found in Jesus.

Heavenly Father, our hearts ache for those we know who are lost or wandering from you. Give us a balance of urgency and patience along with guidance in knowing how to reach out to them. Remind us of the confidence we can have in you, knowing how dearly you want all who are lost to be with you. Thank you for your immeasurable love for all, including us. It’s in your son Jesus’ name we pray. Amen

Hymn: Consider the following hymn of praise for further reflection.
How Great Thou Art
CW21 612 especially stanza 3 and the refrain
CW93 256

Early Childhood Ministry Educator’s (ECME) Devotions are brought to you by WELS Commission on Lutheran Schools.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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