There was a man with his little girl in the grocery store shopping the other day. The child was probably about 3 or 4 years old and cute as she could be. It was obvious she was tired of shopping and she would wander a bit checking things out, looking for something that would interest her. After reaching the end of one aisle, the man turned his cart to the left, presuming his well-behaved daughter would follow. Instead she looked right – the CANDY aisle! Well, you can guess – she turned right (of course she would). It wasn’t long before everyone in the store heard a blood-curdling scream. “Daddy! Daddy!” Of course, everyone ran toward that aisle, believing someone had been hurt. The dad was there immediately, scooping his baby girl up, making sure she was okay. She was trembling, terrified, and sobbing, and said, “Daddy, I was so scared!” “I keep telling you that you have to stay with me,” he replied excitedly. “Yes, daddy but this time I was loster!” was her response. Those of us who had gathered to see if she was hurt, had to laugh a bit about her remark. Children are so funny and cute; so very precious to all of us too. We were so happy that she was okay and uninjured.
Most of you have observed a great deal of strange things while shopping, I’m sure, but I couldn’t get my mind off that little girl. I thought of so many things that could have happened to her – the physical injuries that might have happened or possibly being abducted. It was frightening to let my mind wander, having had four children and eleven grandchildren of my own. After awhile I settled down, chuckling inside about her remark, “I was loster!” As I mulled that over in my mind, of course a spiritual application came to mind. The term “loster,” seemed to keep bothering me. A child doesn’t realize that when you’re lost, you’re lost. It’s not comparative. You are either lost or you aren’t. But in her little mind, she was “loster,” I presume, because it was scarier than previous times when she had been separated from her father. Then I started thinking, “Don’t Christians do the very same thing when they draw farther and farther away from God?” This is often revealed in our speech: “ I just took one drink.” “I only missed two services out of twelve this whole month! That’s not so bad!” “I only tell a white lie now and then,” (the very term “white lie,” has been used to try to minimize or purify a sin), “Well, I still gossip a bit but….there’s usually an element of truth about it!” And the list could go on. Whenever we have to justify our ungodly behavior to another Christian, beware! We are headed down the wrong path. We have separated ourselves from our Father. Granted, there is a process of falling away. James tells us that lust bringeth forth sin and sin bringeth forth death (James 1:14-15). That is a spiritual death – a spiritual separation from God. Psalm 1:1 testifies to this too. We walk by those who sin and scoff at godliness. Then before we know it we stop and stand with the ungodly, perhaps even out of simple curiosity. Finally, there we are, sitting among them, acting like them and doing what they do! It’s a progression, but lost is lost. There is no “loster,” and there is not a superlative, “lostest.” We cannot say “Well, she is loster than I am, or she it the lostest person I know!” Hell has been prepared for the lost (Matthew 25:41). If the “lostest” will be there and the “loster” will be there, where will the lost be? They will be right there among them! We deceive ourselves when we think that we can wander from God, and not be affected by it. We are shown this multiple times in the Bible (consider the prodigal son of Luke 15). Each day we should ask ourselves, “If Christ came right now, in what spiritual condition would I be found?” I pray that we each will be introspective and, “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” I Corinthians 13:5. We are the children of God, but Christians should not be thinking and acting like small children without understanding. The only comparison we need to make is with Christ. When our lives come into alignment with what He has commanded; how He lived on this earth, then we know we are living as the Father would have us to live. When this life is over we will inherit an eternal abode. That will be heaven or hell. We are either saved or we are lost. We will either be sinless (made possible by the cleansing blood of Christ which continually cleanses the Christian as he/she repents of sin) or we will be found laden with all of our sins because we made that wrong turn down that wrong path. It is my prayer that everyone will make sure they are traveling down the right path (2 Peter 1:10; 1 John 5:13). “Draw nigh unto God and He will draw nigh unto you…” (James 4:8)
Nancy is the wife of Bill Goring, who serves as a gospel preacher and elder for the Chipman Road church of Christ in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. She has 4 children, 11 grandchildren and has taught Bible class for over 40 years, speaks at Ladies Day gatherings and has published several books including: Behavior Becoming Holiness: Studies in Titus Chapter 2 and Overcoming our Self-Imposed Prisons.