I asked them to change before I could trust them or talk to them with respect. I say this with profound sadness.
Then you have a verse like we read today that peals back the self-righteous veneer of our sacred gatherings and forces us to stay tuned into the ones who are searching (or not searching) for truth and heading toward eternity without Christ (knowingly or unknowingly). It speaks toward the reality of the urgency and emergency (snatch others from the fire and save them) as well as the approach and M.O. (be merciful to those who doubt) to those who are lost (or missing). Unsaved (or rather pre-saved). Our thoughts become our theology (or terminology becomes our theology). Check this out...
Jude 22, 23 - "Be merciful to those who doubt; 23 snatch others from the fire and save them."
Last week in church we read a poem that hit the nail on the head. I think it is a poem that should be read and reread in church once a quarter. I think believers should have it on their refrigerators and dashboards. I think we should have our children memorize is for catechism (not that I have that tradition) and a right of passage into adulthood. The reason being that it is so easy to forget the reality of life just outside your "foundness". We develop such a "fondness" or our "foundness" that we can easily forget the people living in doubt needing our mercy.
“So I Stay Near The Door”
by: Samuel Moor Shoemaker
“I stay near the door.
I neither go too far in, nor stay too far out,
The door is the most important door in the world—
It is the door through which men walk when they find God.
There’s no use my going way inside, and staying there,
When so many are still outside, and they, as much as I,
Crave to know where the door is.
And all that so many ever find
Is only the wall where a door ought to be.
They creep along the wall like blind men.
With outstretched, groping hands,
Feeling for a door, knowing there must be a door,
Yet they never find it . . .
So I stay near the door.
“The most tremendous thing in the world
Is for men to find that door—the door to God.
The most important thing any man can do
Is to take hold of one of those blind, groping hands,
And put it on the latch—the latch that only clicks
And opens to the man’s own touch.
Men die outside that door, as starving beggars die
On cold nights in cruel cities in the dead of winter—Die for want of what is within their grasp.
They live, on the other side of it—live because they have found it.
Nothing else matters compared to helping them find it,
And open it, and walk in, and find Him . . .
So I stay near the door.
“Go in, great saints, go all the way in—Go way down into the cavernous cellars,
And way up into the spacious attics—In a vast, roomy house, this house where God is.
Go into the deepest of hidden casements,
Of withdrawal, of silence, of sainthood.
Some must inhabit those inner rooms,
And know the depths and heights of God,
And call outside to the rest of us how wonderful it is.
Sometimes I take a deeper look in,
Sometimes venture a little farther;
But my place seems closer to the opening . . .
So I stay near the door.
“The people too far in do not see how near these are
To leaving—preoccupied with the wonder of it all.
Somebody must watch for those who have entered the door,
But would like to run away. So for them, too,
I stay near the door.
“I admire the people who go way in.
But I wish they would not forget how it was
Before they got in. Then they would be able to help
The people who have not even found the door,
Or the people who want to run away again from God.
You can go in too deeply, and stay in too long,
And forget the people outside the door.
As for me, I shall take my old accustomed place,
Near enough to God to hear Him, and know He is there,
But not so far from men as not to hear them,
And remember they are there too.
Where? Outside the door—Thousands of them, millions of them.
But—more important for me—One of them, two of them, ten of them,
Whose hands I am intended to put on the latch,
So I shall stay by the door and wait
For those who seek it.
‘I had rather be a door-keeper . . .’
So I stay near the door.”
I read a book a few years back called “Made to Stick” by Chip and Dan Heath.
It talked about how to make ideas sticky and viral as you seek to influence people. But one page was worth the price of the whole book…it was something the authors called…
The idea is this: "The more you know, the harder it is to relate to those that don’t know."
Think of a lawyer who can’t give you a straight, comprehensible answer to a legal question. His vast knowledge and experience renders him unable to fathom how little you know. So when he talks to you, he talks in abstractions that you can’t follow. (For a Christian it’s called speaking in Spiritual Platitudes or un-relatable Christianeze.)
We have to keeping believing in what Jesus said about the missing or the lost…
Luke 19:10 – For the Son of Man (Jesus) came to seek and to save those who what was lost.”
To Reach and to Rescue
To Search for and Salvage
To be merciful to doubters and rescuers of those heading for a Christ-less eternity.
God help us to have a heart for "the missing" among us.