Doug Creamer: Hot pursuit
We are coming to an end of another school year. It’s been a good school year, but I am ready for a break. From where I stand, I am facing final exams, graduation, and a few work days. It doesn’t sound like much, but it feels like forever. There is so much paperwork to complete, reports to send out, makeup work to be graded and recorded…I am not sure this sleep-deprived mind will be able to cross the finish line.
You may feel I am exaggerating, but it will require plenty of caffeine, burning the midnight oil, and pushing myself to the end. I keep imagining a quiet walk on the beach, escaping into a good book, and sleeping until… It is the dream of the soon to be reality that helps me put one foot in front of the other and press on to the end.
One of the challenges of the end of any semester is chasing down students who owe me assignments. In the classroom, it is reminding them for the umpteenth time to turn in their work. “No,” I explain to them, “it doesn’t do itself.”
About half of my cooperative and internship students complete their assignments on time… it’s the other half that need cattle-prodding to complete their work. I see them in the hallway and remind them to turn in their work. I go to other teachers’ classrooms and ask them to bring me their assignments. I have even gone to their worksite and talked with them there. I try to say as kindly as my tired self can, “Please turn your work in so I can complete your grade.” Once I remember going to graduation practice to ask a young lady to turn in her work.
Today I drove to a student’s workplace seeking his assignments. As I drove, I felt the Lord’s presence in the car. I complained to Him about always having to chase my students down. “I understand,” he whispered, “I have to do the same thing all the time.” His peaceful presence touched me and I could sense a smile on His face as He said, “I have chased you down many times before as you had gone astray.” I immediately smiled and started to laugh.
He was right; He has come to my rescue more than once. The hardness in my heart was instantly softened. As I pulled in the parking lot, I was determined to give my student a hard time, but to do it like Jesus. When I saw him, I gave him what for…but I had grin on my face. I gave him a hard time but in a way that he knew I wanted the best for him. We shared a laugh and I hope I won him over.
Jesus taught us that He would leave ninety-nine sheep on a hill in order to go search for that one lost sheep. All of us have wandered away. All of us have needed a good shepherd to come chase after us. All of us have needed someone who loves and cares about us to help us get back on the right track. I have needed the pastor or a good friend to give me a swift kick in the rear (IN LOVE) when I was heading in the wrong direction.
Jesus came to save the lost, the discouraged, the down-trodden. Jesus came for those who are trapped in sin and hurting within. Jesus came for the sick and those suffering with pain. Jesus came for the disillusioned and disenchanted. Jesus came for the hopeless and those lost in despair. When Jesus left to return to the Father, He gave us instructions to continue His work. He wants you and me to be like Him. He wants us to chase after the lost sheep, to love them and help shine the light so they can find their way home. We don’t have to worry about cleaning the lost souls up, because that is His job. He is awesome at taking the broken and making them whole.
I want to encourage you to look around…I imagine you know some lost sheep who need to find their way home. God wants you to reach out and find the lost. God wants you to love them and accept them just like He loves you and accepts you…warts and all. Heaven is going to be a wonderful place where each of us will have a story of how Jesus found us when we were lost sheep and how He used another person to love us and bring us home.