“ For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.”   1 Corinthians 9:19-23

Maria Belon, the mother in The Impossible writes: “”They say my name softly. Yell it louder. I’m already walking towards the tunnel. …. ‘Mama, mama, wake up.  Did you get on the same wave as I did?'” Simon is covered in mud. Tomas with his chubby cheeks and tear-streaked face is at his side. He has scratches and blood. He is very sad and very serious. ‘Ma, aren’t you happy to see us?’” Huge swells of love and sadness pool just behind her eyes. She guesses she has always been like that but facing death made it all the more intense.

The tsunami resulted in at least 227,898 fatalities. The Belon family very nearly were additional statistics. But those statistics are people. How do we look at the lost? Are they statistics? Are they simply additional numbers in the total number of people who do not attend church or believe in Jesus Christ? Are those we know just part of that total?  And the still bigger question is, do we treat them as statistics?  Do they become numbers? It is difficult when the total numbers are so large and it seems your efforts won’t make much of a difference. There you are wrong. It is worth the effort to win one person to Jesus. But it often requires more work than we expect. 

You meet someone and after a few conversations – at work, or school or in the neighborhood – you invite the person to church. They explain that they have a lot going on, but thanks for the invite anyway. What they are actually saying is probably something like this: “Since you are not taking an interest in what interests me, how do you expect me to take an interest in what interests you.”

It is great that we invite someone to church but is that as far as our Christian interest extends? It’s almost like we have fulfilled our responsibilities to them.  They probably feel like an obligatory target or worse a statistic. Most people will not drop all their beliefs just to accept yours. We need to show an interest in what’s interesting to them instead of expecting them to be interested in Jesus the first time we mention the Savior’s name.  Some people believe that spending time with non-believers is conforming to the world. (Romans 12:2)   

What was Jesus major secret of being effective? He loved sinners. The religious leaders got upset when He was talking and eating with sinners. But Jesus said that he “…came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”(Matt. 9:10-13).

In Luke 15: 1-7, answering the charges that if He was really spiritual he would not be eating with sinners, Jesus said, “ if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it?” “There will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.”

People matter to God so they should matter to us.  They are not statistics. God Himself became a man and left us an example of how we should care for the lost, then exhorted us to follow in His steps.  Jesus stated His purpose, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” (Luke 19:10). We should make His mission our mission.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How do you view those people you know who are far from the heart of God? How invested are you in your relationship with people you know who are far from the heart of God?
  2. Do you find it difficult to speak to others about God in this day and age? Why or why not?
  3. What has Jesus done in your life that you can share with others? How can you reveal God’s grace and mercy to others?
  4. Pray and ask God to provide you the wisdom to seize on the opportunities and possibilities He provides us with those far from the heart of God.