Our February newsletter posed the question, “Have we lost our passion for the lost?” I pray that being reminded of their condition has burdened you to pray for people who are without Christ and has made you more intentional in sharing the Gospel. Today I want to ask a related question, “Do you see lost people?” You’re probably thinking, “Of course I do – they’re everywhere!” Yes, but do you really see them? Matthew 9:36 tells us this about Jesus, “Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd.”
Sadly, we can know exactly what the Bible says about the eternal destiny of people who don’t know Jesus personally, yet feel nothing and do nothing. Having a passion to share the Gospel is rooted in having compassion for the lost. I heard a story about one of the foremost evangelists of the twentieth century that illustrates what I’m talking about. The late Dr. Jess Henley was in a restaurant that he frequented when the server commented, “You seem so sad today, Dr. Henley.” With tears in his eyes, he moved his hand over the room and said, “They’re lost, they’re all lost.”
Dr. Henley’s response was borne of Christ-like compassion for lost souls. Many Christians today are more apt to show anger and contempt for those outside of Christ rather than compassion. So, how do we rekindle our passion in order to respond with compassion? Let’s look at the example of Jesus, Whose stated mission on Earth was to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10). He didn’t spend His life isolated from those He came to save; He sought them out. Jesus was dependent upon His Father and lived in complete submission to His Father’s will in order to accomplish His mission.
As I read Matthew 9, I’m struck by the fact that Jesus didn’t define the crowd according to race, religion, age, or politics. He didn’t measure people by social demographics, but by their eternal destiny. Jesus just saw lost people. He didn’t ignore their physical needs but knew that their greatest need was spiritual. As the Good Shepherd, Jesus saw sheep without purpose or protection. His heart was moved with compassion because they were troubled, harassed, and dejected.
If we want to see with His eyes, feel with His heart, and serve with His hands, then we must live in dependence upon the Holy Spirit and in submission to God’s will. That’s impossible if our compassion is reserved only for people who look, think, and act like us. That’s not the compassion of Christ. We need to get out of our holy huddles and pay attention to the lost and hurting people we pass each and every day.
In Jesus, the distressed, depressed, and defenseless can find pardon, peace, and promise – today and for eternity. Ask the Lord of the Harvest for spiritual eyes to see lost people as Jesus saw them, and to move your heart with compassion to go and tell them what you’ve found in Christ. After all, as His followers shouldn’t His mission be our mission, too?