The Longest 30 Yards

grass grassland
Photo by Fabricio Trujillo on

How would you rate your love and motivation for people who do not yet know Jesus?

The shepherd, who is a portrait of God’s heart, left 99 sheep under his care to pursue just one loved one that was lost (Luke 15:4-7). He didn’t just wait for the one sheep to come to where he was shepherding—he pursued the lost one. This may be obvious, but the sheep was lost and didn’t know where it was or the way home. On its own, the sheep would never make it home and would have certainly died, so the shepherd took things into his own hands to go and find it.

What do you do to look for lost “sheep,” people around you who would never make it “home” if not for someone going out of their way to find them? I realize that sometimes we just don’t know what to do. Sometimes it’s awkward. And other times it’s just plain hard to prioritize relationship-building activities, like inviting our non-believing neighbors over for a meal, to go on a hike, or watch a football game. It seems easier to just invite them to church; we’re going anyway and it requires less of ourselves. Looking for the lost “sheep” takes time and energy. We may even have to say “no” or “later” to other activities (even good Christian ones). We may wonder if it’s worth it.

I think that “the longest 30 yards” in the Kingdom is the distance between our front door and our neighbor’s house, going over to have a short conversation in their front yard or at the mailbox. It’s those conversations, building on each other, that create the bridge of relationship that is strong enough to start a friendship, carry the Gospel, and bring the friend home.

What sacrifices, even if they seem insignificant like walking to your neighbor’s mailbox, will you make to see people around you move closer to a relationship with Christ?

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