On Monday, my husband and I spend part of the morning looking for a wallet. It had been left on the trunk of a car, along with a Bible. The Bible was found—sadly in several pieces, but the wallet is still missing. I took a rake with me on my hunt to sift through the high weeds, knowing that at any moment, we would find it! We didn’t. So sad!
It was quite a diligent effort, but no matter how hard we tried to find the wallet, we couldn’t find it. I couldn’t help thinking about the parallels between my effort to find the wallet and my effort to reach the lost. How hard do I seek after souls that have not found the Savior—souls who are still lost in sin and on the path to eternal destruction?
My effort was so diligent because I knew the hassle that would be involved in stopping the credit cards, getting another driver’s license, etc. Plus, it’s a pet peeve of mine: I hate lost things! Nothing drives me crazier than a puzzle with a missing piece! Maybe I was also driven by pride: I wanted to be the hero—the one to find the missing wallet! I’m sure love was also a driving force—my heart for the one who lost it.
What drives us to seek lost souls? Or perhaps the better question is, why don’t we have more of a burden for the lost? What can stir our hearts to have the compassion of a soul-winner? Well, if I use the list of my motivations to seek the wallet, perhaps there are some parallels.
- Inconvenience was the first motivator. That doesn’t really have a place in the soul-winner’s heart. If anything, soul-winning IS the inconvenience. It takes time out of my busy schedule and pulls my thoughts away from all of life’s distractions. Having a heart for souls isn’t a “worked up emotion” that is tacked on to the end of a busy day; it is a heart passion placed within the very fiber of a believer by God.
- Pride certainly doesn’t have a place in the soulwinner’s heart either, although there is no greater joy than to lead someone to Christ! The joy of finding the wallet pales in comparison to leading someone out of the darkness and penalty of sin and into the glorious light of forgiveness!
- The missing piece. “Every person on the face of this earth will face eternity, either in heaven or hell.” That’s the statement I made to my Bible students last night. What a sobering reality. It doesn’t matter if a person doesn’t believe in heaven or hell, or if they are falsely believing in something other than the truth of God’s Word, the Bible: There is no escape for any of us. Does it stir your heart to know that a loved one will be missing in heaven? If we truly could see heaven and realize the loss which we will feel because of missing unsaved loved ones, that would drive us to speak the truth in love to those we love. And if we would get just a tiny glimpse of hell…”where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched” (Mark 9:48), it would not only give us a heart for the lost–it would drive us crazy! Hell is mentioned fifty-four times in the Bible; fifteen are direct quotes from Jesus. Some Bible scholars dance around the issue by saying that the word hell is at times translated to mean the grave; but after looking up the definitions of the different Hebrew and Greek original words, I don’t see much difference:
- sheh-ole’: Hades or the world of the dead (as if a subterranean retreat), including its accessories and inmates:–grave, hell, pit.
- gheh’-en-nah: valley of (the son of) Hinnom; ge-henna (or Ge-Hinnom), a valley of Jerusalem, used (figuratively) as a name for the place (or state) of everlasting punishment:–hell.
- hades: the place (state) of departed souls:–grave, hell.
- tartaroo: (the deepest abyss of Hades); to incarcerate in eternal torment:–cast down to hell.
Just reading those definitions and looking through each Bible verse containing the word hell was a sobering exercise for me. It certainly sharpened my focus on the urgency of getting God’s message of redemption out!
4. Love–the greatest of all motivators! Our love for others is certainly the most effective driving force for being a witness. Oh, to have the love which Christ displays on every page of His precious Word!
Since I first wrote this article, the wallet has been returned! Someone must have found it, and the postman returned it to its rightful owner. The lost is now found! Oh, the joy. There are still plenty of honest people in this world, but even as I write that, I wonder: Was that honest person also a true believer? How much better to find the truth about eternity than a lost wallet!Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it? And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost. Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth. Luke 9:8-10