The Gospel of St. Luke is full of mission, evangelism and the lost returning to God. We can see and learn the impact of our Lord Jesus and how He attracted the sinful to come to Him. People want to return to Him. People want to change their lives. Sometimes we believers are the stumbling block to prevent others from coming to Him. Our judgment, our gossip, our jealousy, and our words hurt others and block others. We always make excuses why we can’t help, but the Gospel of Luke answers that also.
- Open the Doors
In Luke 7:36-50, we learn about the grace of God and the bravery of a sinful woman. She came to Jesus to weep and repent and was saved regardless of the people trying to block her. I say to the church open the doors to the sinful to come and feel loved. And I say to those who are weary to come to church, to go courageously to church and to the Savior.
In Luke 18:9-14, the Pharisee (Church Leader) was praying but judging the sinner for his deeds. But the tax collector was asking mercy for his sins. Once again, we can see how the sinner is running and searching for repentance. Only if we as leaders can open the doors for them. Open the doors for any kind of person to enter and make sure our church members are ready to receive them.
Personally, I am so thankful for the church leaders who asked about me when I was lost. Who believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. And empowered me to be a leader when I wasn’t ready. This pushed me to be a better person. It pushed me to change my life. They opened the doors for me and I pray we can do that for others. Don’t be afraid to open the door for the lost. Don’t be worried that they will mess up the place. If we don’t open the door, they will mess up the place and it will reach your own family. So, I pray that we can believe in the lost and empower them. They desire it and will shine.
2. Open our Hearts
In the parable in Luke 10:25-37, the Good Samaritan offered his money and belongings to save a half-dead person. He opened his heart. He didn’t ignore the needs around him. He wasn’t too busy to help the people in the community. He didn’t say it isn’t my business. Or I have enough problems of my own. He entered the scene and did what he could. He saved this broken and beaten man. May God open our hearts to help the broken and beaten in our communities and our churches.
I remember one retreat here in Zambia, I was preaching about the Good Samaritan and how we have to sacrifice for the broken and hurting people around us. Well, God put me to the test. As I was driving back from the retreat, the deacon and I saw a poor man just being hit by a car and badly injured. The deacon looked at me and said what should we do. Internally, I was thinking that I hope someone else could take care of it. As I was thinking that, I saw one of our very poor members, who no one respected because he is usually judged for his bad lifestyle, go and care for this man who was hit by a car. He took him to the hospital and made sure the doctor cared for him fully. I learned a really valuable lesson that day. I pray God can open my heart to those around me who are really in need. Not to bypass them, but to sacrifice and get involved.
3. Open our Faith
In Luke 15, we hear about the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son who were found and restored. This is to confirm that there can be a happy ending to those who are away from God. Sometimes we lose hope and faith that a lost person can return. We tried many times and they don’t want God. But that’s not the gospel of Christ. The lost soul will be found and there will be rejoicing. Don’t lose hope, they will return. Be open and have faith that God will return them. And go and search for them as Christ did for you.
In Luke 19:1-10, Jesus went to search for Zacchaeus to restore him. Zacchaeus desired to return, he just needed a bit of a push. Maybe you are that push. Open your faith and trust God can use you even in a small way.
One of the joys of the priesthood is seeing God’s hand in returning a lost son. I am grateful He did that for me and I am grateful He continues to let me see the lost coming back. There have been many days when I have to admit I lost hope, but God continues to surprise me and increase my faith. Never give up on anyone no matter how bad it may seem. God open our faith.
“The person who loves God cannot help loving every man as himself, even though he is grieved by the passions of those who are not yet purified. But when they amend their lives, his delight is indescribable and knows no bounds.” St Maximos the Confessor
4. Open our Eyes
Luke 23:42-43 illustrates an example of the most unexpected person and at the most unexpected time. The thief on right was right next to Jesus and asked Jesus to remember him and Jesus said you will be with Me in Paradise. I wonder if someone in our family or our school or work or even at church is right next to us every day and we are missing the chance to reach out to them.
Let us open our eyes every day to see the opportunities God is giving us. It may happen with the most unexpected person at the most unexpected time.
5. Open the Mission
Luke 10:1 says into every city and every place.
Luke 24:47-48 says repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things.
Jesus started His ministry by going to every place and sending his apostles to every place and before He ascended, He told us to go get the lost of all nations. Opening the mission means being convinced right now that you are part of His mission to save the lost. Once convinced, then make a commitment to open the doors of your church and even your house. To open the doors of your heart to love the unlovable.
The Gospel of Luke shows us it’s time to open up for the work of God to thrive. To see lost souls running to Him and asking mercy from Him. In Luke 24:15, we see two disciples on the road to Emmaus and it says “Jesus drew near to them.” He didn’t want to lose them. He doesn’t want to lose you and He doesn’t want to lose any of His children. I pray that we can open up and let God use us to save His sheep.
Let us pray the same prayer of St. Isaac the Syrian, “I beg and beseech you, Lord: grant to all who have gone astray a true knowledge of you, so that each and every one may come to know Your glory.”
Mission Assignment: Open the door for someone to come closer to God this week. Call someone that you know needs encouragement and pray and see what God will do.Tags: Doors, Eyes, Gospel, Heart, Lent, Lost, Luke, Mission, Open, prodigal son