Searching and Waiting in Love

 

The East Side of Downtown Vancouver is a hotbed of drug addicts and criminals. According to reports, even garbage-truck drivers will not work on certain streets without police escort. There are around 5,000 junkies in this area, of which 38% are HIV positive, 67% have a sexually transmitted disease, and 92% carry the hepatitis type C virus. Every day from 1976, Pauline Fell, who was then 60 years old, visited and reached out to these people who were forgotten and despised by society because she was touched by God. For 25 years, she brought the love of God to countless people whose bodies and souls were troubled and feeble. In time, she established a community service organization called ˇ§Jacobˇ¦s Wellˇ¨ together with other volunteers. Through it, she offered assistance to drug addicts on the East Side. Pauline Fell emulated Jesus Christ, the Son of God, in seeking out those who were lost in sin because of the love of God. She believed that if one more sinner turns back to the Lord, there will be one less criminal.

 

Chapter 15 of the Gospel of Luke in the New Testament recounts that when tax collectors and sinners gathered around Jesus to hear Him preach, the Pharisees and Scribes muttered that He was welcoming sinners and criticized His eating with them. In response to their criticism, Jesus told three consecutive parables: the Lost Sheep, the Lost Coin, and the Lost Son in order to illuminate the joy of the Heavenly Father when lost sinners are found. The commonality of the three parables is: once possessed (v. 4 ˇV one of you has a 100 sheep; v 8 ˇV a woman has 10 silver coins; v. 11 ˇV a man had 2 sons), was lost (v.4 ˇV loses one; v. 8 ˇV loses one; v. 13 ˇV the younger sonˇKset off for a distant country), now found (v. 5 ˇV finds it; v. 9 ˇV finds it; v. 20 ˇV his fatherˇKthrew his arms around him), and share in the joy (v. 5, v. 9, v. 32 ˇV we should celebrate and be glad). The value of what was lost increased with each parable ˇV one sheep lost among 100; one coin lost among 10; one son lost among two. Of the 3 parables, the longest narrative was of the Lost Son. In the eyes of our Heavenly Father, man is more precious than everything else.

 

Although the word ˇ§loveˇ¨ does not appear in these three parables, yet they reveal the love of the Heavenly Father for sinners. In the parables of the Lost Sheep and Lost Coin, Jesus Christ emphasizes the anxiety our Heavenly Father feels for lost sinners, which is why He fervently searches for the lost. ˇ§Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?ˇ¨ (v. 4) ˇ§Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it?ˇ¨ (v. 8).

 

Although there is no mention of the father searching for his lost son in the third parable, it describes how the father loves his son and awaits his return. ˇ§But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.ˇ¨ (v. 20) This waiting in love has a similar meaning to the welcoming in love in v. 2. ˇ§This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.ˇ¨ The word ˇ§welcomeˇ¨ in the original Greek has the sense of hope and waiting. We see then that the Heavenly Father and His Son love sinners very much, and are waiting for their repentance and return. The Heavenly Father waits in heaven for sinners to repent. He sent His beloved and only Son to earth to personally narrate these parables and personally seek out and save lost sinners. As the Bible says, ˇ§The Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lostˇ¨ (Luke 19:10)

 

Dear brothers and sisters! Each month the church has an opportunity to pass out tracts and spread the Gospel at various malls. Because of the great love of God, we are sent to seek out the lost children of the Heavenly Father in accordance with the Lordˇ¦s command and following His example. We must remember that when one more sinner repents and turns back to God, one less sinner will be condemned, and that will also bring great joy to heaven. Do you feel the urging of this love?

 

By: Daniel To