FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
ON EVANGELIZATION AND MISSION
REJOICING IN HEAVEN
November 3, 2011
Today’s reading: Luke 15:1-10
In response to the criticism of the Pharisees and scribes about his welcoming and eating with the tax collectors and sinners (Lk 15:1-2), Jesus tells two parables about God’s concern for the lost and His love for the repentant sinner. In the parable of the lost sheep, the man leaves the ninety-nine sheep to search for the one lost (Lk 15:4). In the parable of the lost coin, the woman with ten coins searches feverishly for the one lost (Lk 15:8). In both cases, when they find it, they rejoice greatly, and even get their friends and neighbors to rejoice with them.
Now Jesus says that in just the same way, there would be great rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents (Lk 15:7,10).
Wow! That should spur us on to greater efforts in our work of evangelization and renewal. Every time a CLS participant repents and turns to faith in Jesus, we ought to rejoice. And to visualize the angels of God in heaven rejoicing with us!
How then should we go about our work of evangelization?
* We should “sweep the house” (Lk 15:8). We should do massive evangelization, attempting to search every nook and cranny on this earth. We go to every town and nation of the world. We go to every educational institution, to corporate and government offices, to squatter areas, etc. We diligently search for the lost.
* We should “light a lamp” (Lk 15:8). Jesus, who is the light of the world, tells us to be “a light to the nations, that (his) salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.” (Is 49:6b). We are not to hide the lamp under a basket. We are to be witnesses. We are to be servants who reflect the very glory of God (Is 49:3).
* We are to search carefully (Lk 15:8). We are to be strategic in targeting our audiences, and crafting approaches that can bring them in. The lost are right there among our relatives, friends, classmates, co-workers. They are the migrants, the legislators, the executives, the poor, etc.
* We are to “go after the lost one until (we find) it” (Lk 15:4). We are to be dogged in our pursuit of the lost. We do not easily give up. We await and ask the Lord for opportunities. We endure and persevere in the face of challenges and suffering.
* We are to focus on reaching the unreached, and not as much on the “ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance.” (Lk 15:7). Though everyone needs ongoing repentance, we look especially for those who are truly lost, those who have no true relationship with God and who live in the darkness of sin.
* When we do find the lost, we set “it on (our) shoulders with great joy” (Lk 15:5). We care for those we have found. We bring them into the fellowship of believers. We provide continuing formation. We journey together on the path of holiness.
* Finally, we are to know that the angels of God in heaven are cheering us on! They are with us engaged in the spiritual war raging in the heavens and on earth. They protect us. They guide us.
Jesus says that “there will be rejoicing among the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Lk 15:10). Can you then imagine the thunderous applause when we help bring not just one but 100 sinners to Christ? How about 1,000? Listen to the tumultuous explosion of joy!
Let us keep the angels of God constantly rejoicing. Let us continually bring in the lost sheep.
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