“What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?”Matthew 7:25
The parable of the lost sheep found in two of the gospels has always served as a reminder that we as Great Commission Christians should always be ready and willing to do whatever it takes to reach out to and rescue any and every lost and hopeless soul that we can find. That is the main reason that God leaves us here on earth. We are to seek and save those who are lost.
As a United States Christian, I must confess that at times I have not had the urgency and passion that I should have to fulfill this mission. It often feels like most everyone here in the States has had ample opportunity to hear the message of Christ and either accept it or reject it. In fact, I occasionally hear people say that they wonder why Christ has not come back to gather His saints because surely in our day and age everyone has had the opportunity to hear the gospel message.
I realized recently that that assumption is a trick of Satan that he wants to use to make us complacent, discouraged, or just flat out lazy when it comes to seeking the lost sheep and sharing our faith. My moment of awakening came as I participated in a medical mission trip to the Rift Valley in Kenya, Africa. The group was made up of me, my wife Renea, and eight other members of First Baptist Dallas.
Over the course of a week, we provided four medical clinics in one of the most remote areas on earth. The clinics were set up in the middle of the African bush where there were no buildings, no electricity, no water, no roads, nothing. But there were plenty of people.
The Maasai are a group of nomadic people who have been in Kenya for a thousand years. They are tribesmen and herders. They have always been isolated with no access to education, medicine, clean water, or the life-changing message of Jesus Christ. Over the course of four clinics, we treated over twelve hundred people with health-changing medicine. Over the course of those four clinics, we shared the gospel with all of those people, and nine hundred and nine people received Jesus Christ as their Savior.
When we met their physical needs, they were eager to receive the message that healed their spiritual need. We also launched four churches at each clinic site to disciple and mature each of these new believers. The message of Christ is powerful in Kenya. I saw it.
On the way back to the States, God gave me this moment of awakening when He reminded me that the message of Christ is still powerful in America. I’ve seen it. And so have you. There a millions of lost sheep in America. They are well hidden by money, success, and status, but they are still lost and dying. America is my Kenya on a daily basis, and it is yours, too. Your job and mine is to find that lost sheep that God has placed in our paths and do whatever we can to rescue them and bring them into the flock. We know what to do. May God break our hearts for the lost.
Questions for Thought
- Will you identify three people that need Christ, write their names on your My 3 card, and pray for them daily?
- Will you commit to share your faith with and invite them to worship with you at First Dallas over the course of the next year?
Daily ChallengeSpend time praying for your three people today. Then pray that God would soften their hearts and give you boldness to have conversations with them about Jesus.
Executive Pastor of Ministries
Ryland believes the church should be the center of our community, operating as a New Testament church to serve as "home" for thousands of people. Ryland and his wife, Renea, have two married daughters, Shea and Kelsi, and three grandchildren.