“In my neighborhood, on almost every light pole, there are signs for lost dogs or cats. When I first noticed these signs, I felt a tinge of sympathy. … But nothing seemed to happen. The seasons changed. The pictures grew faded because of the weather. And yet, many of the signs are still up today. I can’t help but wonder: is anyone actually looking for these animals? Do they expect me to do all the work? Did the owners just put up signs and assume the pets would read them, realize they’re missing, and saunter on home? This is not the way God seeks. The shepherd doesn’t just put up a sign that says, ‘Hey, I lost a sheep.’ He leaves the 99 behind and goes after the one who is missing”
(Kevin DeYoung, “Jesus and the Lost,” His Mission: Jesus in the Gospel of Luke, eds. D. A. Carson and Kathleen Nielson [Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2015], chap. 5, excerpted in “You Can’t Outrun His Grace,” June 8, 2015, The Gospel Coalition).
As believers, we need to be reminded that we were once the one who was lost, and God came in pursuit of us to save us by his grace. When we remember our own desperate need for grace, we will be more likely to extend it to others. We will also be more likely to break out of our comfortable “holy huddle” at church, surrounded by people who already know Jesus, and will want to cooperate with the Father in pursuing the lost and sharing God’s love with them.