"For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost." (Luke 19:10)
Yesterday in the late afternoon I was driving along Beaver Street in Framingham heading toward the Sherborn town line when I received a text message from my daughter Rachel. I certainly will not read, compose, or send text messages while driving, so just after crossing into Sherborn, I pulled into the Sunshine Farm ice cream stand parking lot to read the text. Shortly after I'd read the message and sent a reply a slightly heavy-set woman with a determined look on her face walked to my car and up to the driver's side window. I couldn't understand why this woman was approaching me. Honestly, this was a woman that I would have referred to as "an old lady" just a few years ago, but she was probably only five or six years older than I am! (When you reach sixty-one, it's interesting that your perspective on who qualifies to receive the labels "old man" or "old lady" definitely changes!) I fully expected her to say something like, "You're not allowed to park here when the ice cream stand is closed!" I was wrong. She was quite flustered. The woman announced to me that she was lost, that her G.P.S. had just quit functioning and that she was trying to get to Route 135 and had no idea how to do so.
I almost directed her toward the Dennison crossing area of Framingham where she could pick up Route 135, but I asked her where she was going. "Natick Center" was her reply. I knew sending her to Dennison crossing would be a long and circuitous way to get her to Natick Center. "Do you know how to get to Route 27?" I asked. Her reply surprised me. She told me she lives right off Route 27 but had no idea how to get to Route 27 from where we were. (Of course, she could have lived off Route 27 in Acton or in Sharon for all I knew, so maybe her response wasn't really so strange after all.) I then told her I was heading toward Route 27 and that she should follow me. I then added, "Once we get to Route 27, I'll be turning right, so don't follow me at that point."
"Why not?!" she asked, seeming quite confused.
I explained to her that I would be heading south toward Medfield and that she would need to turn left onto Route 27 to head toward Natick Center. The "old lady" (you'll understand in a moment why I've now decided to call her that) got into an old black Toyota Corolla parked a few spaces to my right and to follow me in my old silver Toyota Corolla. She drove slow and I do mean slow! I take a lot of teasing from people for being a slow driver. This woman drove much slower than I do! She was driving so slowly that she kept disappearing out of my rear view mirror. At one point, I had to stop so she could catch up! Finally, we made it to the intersection with Route 27. I put on my right turn signal, hoping she would get the hint, and she did. She blew her horn as sort of a thank you, and went in the opposite direction on Route 27.
As I continued on toward Medfield, I thought about that lost lady. The way she approached me was a bit awkward and inconvenient. She was pretty clueless about where she was and about how to get where she needed to go. She was way too slow in following me, which made things a bit frustrating. I took her as far as I could, and I hope she did get to where she wanted to go. Well, in our Christian lives, God sometimes sends (spiritually) lost people to us. Many times, our encounters with the are awkward or inconvenient. They may think they've got things together, but often these lost people are clueless about God and eternal life. Sometimes we do get lost people to "follow us", that is to accept our direction and instruction. But many times, they progress at a very slow rate which is frustrating for us. Often we take them "as far as we are able". We hope they "get to the destination" God has for them. The bottom line is, we ever can't turn our backs on those who are geographically lost nor on those who are spiritually lost! God expects us to help to them!