Monday, February 22, 2016

God the Pursuer

Can you imagine what our world would be like if God sat back on His fatherly heels and said, “I’ll wait till they come to me?” What if he had never spoken to Abraham, never wrestled with Jacob, never declared his name to Moses?  What if he did not reveal himself to us? Never wrote his glory in the stars or gave His law to the assembled people he had claimed for himself (Psalm 19)?  Aren’t you glad that he is the God who pursues us?

In the extremity of love and need, He pursued us right down into our own neighborhoods. John 3:16  reminds us: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” God loved and God gave.   

The parables and metaphors of Jesus tell the tale again and again. God is the woman sweeping her house looking for a single missing coin.  God is the shepherd out in the dark in search of a single lost sheep.  Jesus is the great Physician who came all the way from heaven on a housecall.  Jesus is the houseguest that invites himself to Zaccheus’ house, declaring that he came “to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:1-10).  

Are you feeling all warm and fuzzy?  Happy to be a coin; happy to be a sheep; happy that Jesus sought you and bought you?  Me too.  But I have an uncomfortable feeling that this is only half the story.  

God spent millennia working a plan-a plan to pursue the lost.  Millenia.  Everything He did for thousands of years after the fall was directed at revealing himself, building a people, and announcing Jesus.  God pursued us when we were helpless, his own enemies; he chased us all the way to the cross.  Does the story stop there? What happened to all that divine passion?  Is it gone?  Is God no longer pursuing the lost?

Of course not. Don’t you remember, Jesus said, “Come follow me and I will make you fishers of men.”?

God now has an army of fishermen scooping up the fish.  A host of people to seek the lost and point to a Savior.  

Doesn’t he?

I’m afraid God’s people have forgotten how to fish.  Oh, they know the rules.  Don’t be noisy or the fish won’t bite.  Or more to the point-don’t live godless hateful lives or no one will want to hear about God from you. But you’ll catch as many fish sitting in silence by the bank as you will catch your lost neighbors by living a silently righteous life among them.  

Just as bad I’m afraid God’s people put all the responsibility on the fish.  Dangling their nets through the water they drift along with the assumption that everyone knows that they are Christians and anyone who wants to can come to them. 

What was that last phrase?  “Anyone who wants can come.” Shame on the fisher of men who won’t bother to fish.

Once we were the pursued.  Coins swept into God’s purse.  Sheep gathered into his fold.  And once we stood beside Peter at the seashore and heard Jesus say, “Come, follow me and I will make you fishers of men.”  And we came and we followed the one who seeks and saves the lost.  And if we are faithful to that call, to that following, we will become what he called us to be.  Fishers of men.  Not dozing on the shore passively willing to help anyone who seeks us out.  But exhausted, sunburned fishermen out in the deepest water casting our nets again and again and again. Pursing the lost just like the God who pursues us.


  1. How convicting and so true! I listened to a sermon by Eric Ludy a while back and it was on this very same subject. (it seems I am constantly needing this message. :) ) Thank you for sharing your heart on this matter!

    1. When I post these things, at least half the time it is because *I* am the one in need of the reminder. :)

  2. Spot on. I'm a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints-Mormons people call us. We sort of have a bad reputation for being pushy about our faith. Yet, it's exactly the mentality you discuss here that keeps me going back out of my comfort zone time and time again. And for the record, I'm trying hard to find non-pushy ways to do it. :)