Scott Jones – Gilbert Campus Pastor
So I got a text from my 17-year-old son, Noah when I was a work the other day. It read, “What did you do with my keys?” You see, he recently inherited a 1973 Mustang (that he now affectionately refers to as “Blue Steel”) from his grandfather’s estate. To say that he loves driving it around would be like saying Michael Jordan was a good basketball player, the Beatles were a band from the 60’s or Van Gough liked to paint. He’d obviously lost his keys but was hoping his father was playing a prank on him. Now let me ask those of you who know me, Do you think I would ever do that?
I texted back, “Nothing.” He pressed in, “Did Mom do something with them?” I was now backing out. “You’ll have to ask her.” When I got home, he was in a frenzy searching all over the house for his keys. At first, it was fun to watch because I hadn’t seen this much passion from him since he discovered “Fallout4.” (Sorry that’s gamer reference you will have to Google.)
He asked again if I had done anything with the keys because he was sure that I had put them away somewhere or was hiding them from him. He insisted, “I know you guys did something with them.” We assured him we were innocent. We asked, “Are they in your backpack?” “No.” “In the red chair under the cushion where you were sitting?” ”Nope.” Keep in mind this conversation is taking place as he is running up and down the stairs, going in and out of different rooms, so he’s exhausted and out of breath. I stopped him and concluded, “They’re probably in your room under your clothes that are scattered all over the floor.” I know, not an inspirational parenting moment but at the time the car keys took precedent. He was confident in his response: “No, because you made me clean up my room and if you hadn’t made me clean it up, I wouldn’t have lost them in the first place!” That’s as funny as I write this as it was when I heard it last week.
“Well, you probably gathered them up and threw them away with all the garbage that was on your floor when you cleaned up your room.” He wasn’t willing to admit the possibility. So I went out on front driveway just to see if any neighbors were out and then I heard something on the side yard. At first I couldn’t make it out but then it sounded a lot like garbage being dumped out on the sidewalk. I thought, “What is going on?” So I opened the gate and sure enough there was Noah digging through the trash and guess what he found? No need to say, “I told you so.” The mystery was solved and “Blue Steel” was on the road again. But here’s what I took away from the whole thing.
We search the hardest for what matters the most.
Noah’s passion to search for and find his keys revealed the priority that his car holds in his life. Now this is not about shaming my son for loving his car. I’m glad he has it and I celebrate him and the fun he has in driving it. But what I want us to tap into here is the broader spiritual reality. This whole thing stirred something inside of me and made me ask, “What am I searching for the hardest?” How about you? What do you search the hardest for? What do we put the most passion into finding? What’s your “Blue Steel?” Maybe it’s the perfect job or the perfect person. Maybe it’s recognition or reputation. Some of us search pretty hard for the approval of others. Maybe we should take our cue from God.
God searches. God searches hard. God searches the hardest for what matters the most to him — people. People who went missing. God initiated the greatest search and rescue mission in all of eternity when he came looking for you and me. God, the Son, the Second Person of the Trinity, left heaven and came to earth in the person of Jesus of Nazareth because we mattered more to him than anything in all creation. When he was at the home of Zacchaeus, he announced:
The Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost. (Luke 19:10)
This is the heart of God. 2000 years ago he went searching and he hasn’t stopped. And he won’t stop until everyone he is searching for is found. If you’ve been around Central lately, you know we just finished a series called the “Marks of Ownership.” The series, which defines our model of discipleship, outline six identifying marks of a person who is “owning” their faith and the mission of Central. One of those marks is identified by the phrase “Found people find people.” It’s another way of saying that those of us who have been found by God (and surrendered to him as our Savior and Leader) should join him in his search for those who are still missing.
How are you doing with that? In our Life Group this past week this was the one “mark” that most of us felt compelled to ask God for help. To be honest, I’m not doing as well as I want. And I write “want” instead of “should” on purpose. Because we will never join God in his search out of guilt. It’s unsustainable not to mention unbiblical.
Love is the only enduring motivator to share our faith.
Love is more enduring than guilt and more powerful than fear (the other thing that hinders our movement to share our faith). The writer John reminds us “perfect loves drives out fear.” (1 John 4:18) Something happens in the human heart that is fully enveloped in the love of God that allows us to move toward people and situations that would otherwise make us cower. Was Jesus fearful of going to the cross? I’m guessing he was. But I’m confident that his love for you and me drove his fear down into the dust and he stepped on it as he took the journey to Golgotha.
Love for “Blue Steel” created a passionate pursuit in Noah to find the only thing that would get him back in the driver’s seat. Love created a passionate pursuit in the Son to humble himself, leave the splendor and glory of heaven and come looking for us. Love will create a passionate pursuit within us to reach out to friends, family, neighbors, co-workers or complete strangers with the good news of a God who loves them and came to give them life. So my prayer for us all is that God would increase our love for him and our love for others. And then I truly believe we will search the hardest for what matters the most.
Oh by the way, Noah hangs his keys on the laundry room key rack now!