“What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.” Matthew 18:12-14
Every year we ask each person at church to pick one person that they will pray for and believe God that they will come to Christ. We call it our “One Soul.” We do this twice a year—once in January and once around September. This is what happens… The second you write down a name, there are two kingdoms fighting for dominance in your soul. The kingdom of darkness presses the buttons of fear, apathy, and discouragement to prevent you from reaching out to that person. But then there is the Kingdom of God that brings joy and excitement to not only pray for but to step out in faith to invite and connect with your “One!”
Jesus shares a story of sheep and shepherds to raise the value of people who are lost and maybe even devalued in our eyes. It’s so easy to think it’s hard or even scary to pursue a person who is lost. In our day, it would be like pretending you have two pet dogs and one of them escapes. Of course, you would leave your one dog at home and go find the other one…and when you did, you would be so happy and thankful that your dog didn’t get hit by a car or put in the pound or even stolen, that your joy would overcome any form of fear, anger, or fatigue.
The lyrics from the song “Reckless Love” are an incredible picture of the love of Jesus that rescued the world. But the more I read the lyrics, the more I catch the spirit of adventure when you are after the one that is lost.
“There's no shadow You won't light up
Mountain You won't climb up
Coming after me
There's no wall You won't kick down
Lie You won't tear down
Coming after me”
I want to remind you of verse 13 in the passage above, “He is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off.”
I have had several people in the lobby of church stop me and say with an excited whisper, “This is my One!” referring to the person standing next to them that has finally come to church. I can see a joy in their eyes that only comes from reaching a person for Jesus. The person standing next to them is the One they have been praying for, and they are responding to Jesus. When that one person raises their hand to receive Christ in church, there is a happiness that is present in that moment that you will carry with you for the rest of your life!
Dear God, help me overcome anything that would hold me back from reaching people for You. Show me the One person I need to be praying for. Let me experience the adventure and joy of being part of bringing one of Your children home. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Who is the one person I will be praying for to receive Christ this year?