Letter to the Lost
I was recently reading a letter written by one of the first elders of Antioch Church of Christ. In this letter Luther Blankenship details the events that led up to the creation of a church which has stood for more than half a century. What really struck me as I read this letter was the way Luther chose to conclude it. He ended with these words,
“Now I come to the saddest part of this letter. There are about a hundred erring members. Some quit at the water, some endured for a while and fell away and some for other causes. The elders want you back. God wants you back. Christ wants you back and you need to come back. For life is too short, eternity too long, Heaven too beautiful, and Hell is too hot for you to stay away. So good-bye. Hope to see you in church Sunday.”
The unfortunate reality is that there are erring members. There are pews gathering dust which were once occupied. What should be said to these people? How should we go about reaching those who have turned away from God? A good place to start is by letting them know that their presence is missed.
I can’t help but think of Jesus words in Matthew 18:10-14. Jesus tells about the shepherd with 100 sheep, but when one sheep has gone astray the shepherd leaves the 99 and searches diligently for the one. When the lost sheep is found he rejoices. God is not willing that any should perish, He wants the lost to come home and so should we. Do our actions reflect that desire or are we content to leave the sheep behind? Luther was right, life is too short and eternity is too long, the reward is too sweet and the consequences too dire to not seek out the one who has gone astray.