Lord Jesus, You are the Good Shepherd, without whom nothing is secure. Rescue and preserve us that we may not be lost forever but follow You, rejoicing in the way that leads to eternal life; for You live and reigns with the Father that the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
There is a man who sits outside the grocery store in my neighborhood. He has a bucket on his head. He smells very bad. He squats on the sidewalk near the door, surrounded by a small mound of stuff, hurling threats and insults at anyone who comes too close. He clearly has some form of mental illness. Did the mental issues lead him to the meth? Or did the meth push him over the edge? I don’t know. I wish we could get him into an appropriate residential treatment facility. But the county’s mental health system is overwhelmed. Most people just make a circle and walk on by. Is he lost forever?
There is another fellow who regularly “shops” at that same grocery store. He loads a shopping cart with beer and meat and bypasses the check stand on the way out the door. The staff cannot pursue him or stop this. Company policy says they must let it happen in the interest of employee safety. He does this so often that the employees have a nickname for him, “The Modelo Goblin.” Medelo beer being his beverage of choice. This man seems to have lost all moral compass. He sees nothing wrong with stealing what has come be thousands of dollars of merchandise from his neighbors. Is he lost forever? Has he indeed become something other than human, a goblin of sorts? I know that my society has called them a lost cause and largely given up on both of these men. We pray in this prayer this week that we are not lost forever but follow Jesus. This means he must rescue and preserve us. I do not think we really grasp how close we are to these unfortunates who frequent the grocery store in my neighborhood. Our world tells us to be authentic and we often tell our youth to pursue their passions and dreams. Have both of these men followed that advice to their destruction? Praise God, we have a shepherd who is wise, loving, and strong. He alone is the hope of the two men I describe above. His rescue and help are what keep any of us from being lost forever. Listen to Him. Follow Him. He leads to eternal life.