The following is from the devotional book Awake My Heart by J. Sidlow Baxter (today’s entry):
“For the Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Luke 19:10
Let the breezy unconcern and jaunty sarcasms of Christ-rejecting worldlings be what they may, apart from Christ they are lost souls. That word “lost”, usually excites pity or alarm or grief. Even a lost dog gains out ready pity. A lost child stirs us up to deep concern. If we hear that a ship has been lost with all on board, or that lives have been lost in a mine disaster, instantly we feel alarm and grief. Yet what are the greatest physical losses compared with the loss of the soul? Think what it means to be a lost soul.
Lost to Fellowship with God
Does someone exclaim, “Why, fellowship with God is something far removed from most people’s minds”? Well, could anything more sadly prove their lost condition? Is it not surprisingly strange that human beings should shiftily evade all thought of the very One who gives them life, who sustains them, gives them the breath they breathe, and the light in which they see, and the food which they eat? Is it not stranger still that men in general prefer any philosophic or scientific theory to the Bible, whether pantheistic, fatalistic or evolutionary, so long as it assures them that God does not even exist? How strange we should think it if growing children who had been well fed, well clothed, well cared-for in every way, and surrounded by sympathetic parental love, should all the while be shiftily evading their parents, and at the earliest opportunity hive away from them and push them entirely out of thought! Yet that is how human beings in general treat the great heavenly Parent; and does it not indicate the strangest alienation?
Lost to Life’s Highest Purpose
Did God allow any of us to be born without some special purpose in view? Has God endowed our nature with intellect, conscience, and free will, only to have leave us as wisps of meaningless conscience blown about by blind chance? “No,” say the birds of the heaven and stars of the sky. “No,” says the whole of the well-ordered universe. “No,” says the written Word of God; there is a purpose for each of us as truly as for Jeremiah (Jer. 1:5). But sin has driven a deep, wide wedge between God’s will and man’s; so that instead of finding heart-satisfying consummation of our human personalities, we spend ourselves on the merely temporal, and then die saying, “Vanity of vanities; all is vanity!” Life has no real purpose apart from God. To be “lost” is therefore to be lost to life’s highest purpose.
Lost to Life’s Purest Joys
It is difficult for worldly minded people to think this, especially the younger among them; but that is simply because there is one part of their nature torpid, atrophied, dead. It is difficult for the sensual and voluptuous to think that the pleasures of the mind are more enjoyable than those of the body; yet the poet, the philosopher, the intellectual, will tell them that mere animal indulgences are crude compared with mental pleasures. And the prayerful Christian knows that even mental pleasures are far below the pure spiritual joys which are ours in Christ. Oh, the sad, sad tragedy, “Lost”!-lost to fellowship with God; lost to life’s highest purpose; lost to life’s purest joys; and lost to all these for ever! May we who know the Saviour do all we can to arouse them, and bring them to the Saviour!