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Repentance and Joy

(Luke 15:1-10)

Lesson 7 -- second quarter 1996
April 14, 1996

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 1996, Christian Light Publications

Why do people draw near to you?
How do you view a 1% loss?
What makes you joyful?

Sometime, consider why people gravitate to you. For some, the answer will be popularity--"If I hang around with this popular person, I will be with the 'in' crowd." For others, it may be wit, levity and humor--"He is sooooo funny! It's so fun to be with him." Adventure may well be another answer--"She has such original and innovative ideas for things to do. No boredom there!" I am sure you can add to the list.

Why do you want people to draw near to you? I want people to desire to be with me because of my compassion, my understanding, my helpfulness, my counsel, my pleasantness, my objectivity and on and on. Question is, what am I doing to develop those godly virtues which attract people? I have so far to go!

I must begin by letting the mind of Christ be in me. This happens only as I daily expose myself to His thoughts in a careful study of His Word. I must also subject my life to His ways, living in faithful obedience to His commands--put off, put on, think on these things, make no provision, and so forth.

One sheep in a hundred, one penny out of a dollar, a 99% grade instead of 100%--which is the biggest loss? One percent seems so insignificant if you consider only the ratio. "I still have 99; that's almost the same as 100!" With that kind of perspective, despising the one percent comes quite easily. With such a value system, disposing of the one percent poses no problem to us.

Disposable diapers, disposable cameras, disposable contact lenses, disposable syringes--behold the Great American Throw-Away! We may roost on the sidelines and cluck about the wasteful trend. We may crow of our frugality, thrift and wise stewardship. But are we entirely innocent?

What about disposable people? Oh, I'm not talking about abortion and assisted suicide! I'm talking about sinners and sliders! What are we doing to find the lost one percent? What are we doing to restore that one-member-out-of-one-hundred that backslid? I'm telling you: We write them off too easily! "They just aren't worth the effort." Oh, we are too smart to say such a thing, but we are foolish enough to live it! This lesson convicts me of my own creeping indifference to the perdition about me! Let us be warned once again: Those who turn their back on the needy will someday see only the backs of their rescuers and Rescuer.

I outwitted a particularly difficult computer game--I was ecstatic. I landed an especially challenging writing assignment--I was thrilled. I saw through the leading question and turned tables on my inquisitor--I was gratified. Raises, jobs, dates, conquests, acquisitions, accomplishments and such give us emotional highs. We pursue them so avidly though they evaporate so readily. Let's learn to find joy, fulfillment and satisfaction in the substantive things of life instead!

Here is challenging study project for you: What brought/brings joy and satisfaction to the Lord Jesus? Are these beyond my reach?

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