Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Softly And Tenderly Jesus Is Calling"1 (Lyrics)
Luke 19:10 – For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost. (NKJV)
It seems to me that a lot of time and effort goes into entertaining our children. During school breaks and vacations, we see reports on television about what to do and where to go: theme parks, craft fairs, hikes, and activities at nature conservancies, to name a few. Then there are the many video games and television shows to entertain children.
When I was a little boy, there was none of that. When the weather was bad, I would spend hours by myself in front of the living room window, drawing and painting pictures. I still have some of them. When it was nice outside, Mother would say, "Go out and play and don't come home till it's time to eat."
We lived in a semi-rural area, where there were a lot of children, and we mostly entertained ourselves. One of the games that we played on occasion was hide and seek. It was, and perhaps still is, a popular game where a number of players would hide, to be found by one or two players. There were a lot of places to hide at the various properties where we were allowed to play. The seekers would look for likely places where a child was hiding. They would try to hear movement and thus find them. When they were unable to find someone, they would call, "Where are you?"
Jesus tells a parable of a man who had lost a sheep:
Matthew 18:12-13 – What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying? And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray. (NKJV)
In my mind, I can see the man going back to the hilly area with rocks and deep gullies where he had let his sheep graze. The shepherd carefully looks everywhere, listening if he could hear it, and calling out, "Where are you?" He knows that his sheep would know his voice and answer him.
There are so many people these days who have strayed from the flock, people who have chosen a different way of life. There are others who have never heard the call of the Shepherd, who are lost in the wilderness of our secular world. But wherever we are or whatever we are doing:
- Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling.
Calling for you and for me;
See, on the portals He's waiting and watching,
Watching for you and for me
Will L. Thompson (1847-1909)
If you are one who has not yet heard the voice of the great Shepherd, or if you have recently strayed from the flock, listen closely for His voice calling you home.
Prayer: Our Father in heaven, it is such a comfort to us to know that You are always calling us, and we earnestly pray that more people would hear Your voice and be part of the community of believers. We ask it in Jesus' name. Amen.