Heartbroken over the Lost

by Rev. Chad W. Reynolds, Senior Minister

Rescue those who are being taken away to death; Hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter.      Proverbs 24:11

I am heartbroken.  No, I mean it… really heartbroken.  Why?  I am heartbroken for the lost, the unsaved, and the unreached of this world.  This is a new phenomenon for me.  I’ve always known that there were the lost, the unsaved, and the unreached but I admit that in the busy-ness of my own life I found it easy to overlook the problem.  Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that I did not allow myself to ponder the devastating reality of their situation.  The fact is the lost, the unsaved, and the unreached are being taken away to death.  They are stumbling to the slaughter.   

Over the past few months the Lord has been working on my heart and softening me.  This summer I read a book called The Same Kind of Different As Me.  It is about Ron Hall, a high-end art dealer in Dallas, TX, who together with his wife, Debbie, began volunteering at a homeless shelter where they befriended a hardened, grizzled man from the street named, Denver Moore.  The book chronicles their friendship through some of the toughest times that life has to offer.  Along the way both Ron and Denver received the grace of Christ Jesus for their salvation and they became a means of rescue for each other.  I was reading this book on the beach, while on vacation, and I began to weep.  I was so touched by the generous justice that both Ron and Denver showed to one another.  It wasn’t easy for Ron Hall to give of himself so sacrificially as he shared the Gospel with Denver.  He was a reluctant participant at first, but along the way his heart broke for this man who so desperately needed Jesus Christ. 

On the beach that day I thought of some of the lost that the Lord has brought across my path over the past few years.  Many of them are difficult to love.  They are grizzled and hardened from sin.  They desperately need Jesus Christ and I am someone who knows Him as Lord and Savior.  I have the Answer they are searching for so aimlessly.  Will I share it with them?  Will I tell them how to be rescued from death?  Will I hold them back from their stumbling to the slaughter?  Do I even care? 

By the grace of God, I am caring more and more each day.  My heart breaks for the lost in new ways. 

I have also been reading Luke’s Gospel recently as I prepare for our next sermon series The Bearer of Burdens.  In his Gospel, Luke speaks of Jesus as one who had compassion for the weak, the downtrodden, and the lost.  He reached out and touched the untouchables, He gave food to the hungry, He healed the sick, and He gave rest to the weary.  I pray that His compassion for those who are burdened by sin and its results will be made alive in me.  I pray daily that the Lord will break my heart for the weak, the hungry, the homeless, the orphaned, and most of all the lost.  I pray that He will give me the grace to love others sacrificially so that they might know the One who lay His life down that theirs might be raised up.     

I pray that your hearts will be broken too.  I pray that you would cry out for mercy for the 13 MILLION orphans in the world.   I pray that your heart would break for the 3 BILLION people worldwide who live on $2 or less a day. I pray that you would grow in your love for the 2 BILLION people in the world who have never even heard the name of Jesus Christ.  I pray that the Lord would call some of you to the mission field to be on the frontlines in carrying the Gospel to the ends of the world.  I actually pray this for some of you by name! 

I pray that all of you would have a heart that breaks wide open for the world and that you would share the Gospel with the lost here in our own community.  We do not necessarily have to go far to encounter the weak, the hungry, the homeless, the orphaned, or the lost.  There are many just outside our doorsteps.  May we love them as Christ loves us, so that they may know Him too – that they may be rescued from death and held back from the slaughter.

Having seen all this, you can choose to look the other way but you can never say again, ‘I did not know.’     – William Wilberforce