man lost in the woods

Love & Lost Causes

Most people would give up on a lost cause, but in the Kingdom of God, there are no lost causes. There is hope because there is One who loves, seeks, and saves.

A family member of mine walks around the neighborhood and calls the lost family cat by name more than a decade after it disappeared. She’s famous for it. And she never gives up hope, persisting in a relentless pursuit of a literal lost cause. 

That’s love. Some might call it wishful thinking, naivete, or even folly. But I dearly love this woman, so I’m calling her perseverance an act of love. 

In Luke 19:1–9, Jesus pursued Zaccheus, a tax collector. Notorious thieves in that day, tax collectors demanded extra taxes so they could profit off their victims. As the chief tax collector, Zaccheus won the award for “Worst Of The Lot”—a lost cause. He was, in fact, a sinner.

Yet Jesus initiated a relationship with this most despised man. Others would probably have passed Zaccheus by, but Jesus intentionally took notice of Zaccheus, called him by name, and invited Himself to Zaccheus’ home to eat. Through His unconventional actions, Jesus overtly expressed His desire to have a relationship with Zaccheus. 

In this way, Jesus put His purpose on display: “the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10). He did this out of love.

As a result of Jesus’ loving actions, Zaccheus repented—he confessed his sins and made restitution for the wrongs he had done. Jesus transformed Zaccheus into a new man, as Paul describes in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

Without Jesus, we’re all lost causes. Even the most loving, respectful, obedient child has a sinner’s heart. We’re all incapable of living up to God’s standard of holiness, outlined in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:2–17; Deuteronomy 5:6–21). Who never tells a lie? Who never covets what they don’t have? Who never dishonors a parent, takes something that isn’t theirs, or looks with lust at someone else? No one—because “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). 

Because God is just, He requires a penalty for sin (Romans 6:23). So Jesus traveled from a higher realm through impossible means to seek and save the lost causes. He said, “Let me pay the penalty instead. I will take the punishment for Jana’s sin. I will take the punishment for [your name]’s sin.” He died on the cross to pay that penalty. Because of that, we can be saved, transformed into new creations, righteous in the eyes of God. 

That’s love. 

In the Kingdom of God, there are no lost causes. It doesn’t matter how far someone has gone, how dark the corner they’re hiding in, or how unreachable they appear. God considers no one too far or too hidden to be rescued by Him. 

If Jesus saved you, spend some time praising Him for it today. Meditate on the joy of His saving grace. If you have loved ones who are still lost, may your hope be restored today. Jesus came to seek and save the lost, and no one is too lost for His rescuing reach.

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