March 17, 2014
Don’t sweat the small stuff.
That’s easy advice to give… but much harder to receive. It’s usually good counsel, given the fact that we often lose sight of the forest because of our preoccupation with those trivial trees. But there are times…
This morning, the headlines are eclectic. Over seven billion people on the planet, and we don’t know where to focus our attention: should we be more concerned with the 43 million people in Ukraine who are watching thousands of Russian troops accumulating on their common border? Or, should we be fixated on the two million in Crimea – about 60% of whom are of Russian ethnic descent – and the legitimacy of yesterday’s “election” regarding their national affiliation? Stop the presses: there are 239 people – holding passports from multiple countries – who boarded a Malaysian Airways 777 a week ago… and haven’t been heard from, since.
No business would ever imagine efficiencies that would drop its inventory shrinkage to the level that represents. What’s a loss of 239 from a total population of 7.8 billion matter, anyway? With billions in poverty, hundreds of millions in hunger, over a million children aborted every year in America, and myriad other critical issues spreading across the planet… why call a time-out and obsess over 239 people?
Twenty-five countries are involved in the search for Flight 370. Based on the speed of the plane and the pounds of fuel on board, the search grid is massive. Land and water are both being scoured for wreckage and deception; every stone is being turned in the hunt. The world is waiting for news…
“Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, ‘This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.’ Then Jesus told them this parable: ‘Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, “Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.” I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.’” (Luke 15:1-7)
The debate over population control stops when 239 people go missing: theoretical conversations have no place when real people disappear. Only three are reported to be Americans, but we’re as riveted to the coverage as the people in Kuala Lumpur, where the flight originated. Why would so few people warrant the preoccupation of the world’s attention?
Jesus made the contrast stark: the existence of the many does not negate the fate of the few. One sheep out of 100 was enough to get the owner’s attention; every life has value, and the cost of searching and securing every life pales in comparison to its underlying worth.
I’m at risk – every day – of forgetting the example of the Creator, when I walk by His creation without considering their condition. In the eyes of the loving God, the person whose life is spiraling out of control absent the rescue provided by the Good News of the Lord Jesus should be in my search grid. The distractions of life keep me from recognizing the immediate importance of the rescue mission launched by Heaven 2000 years ago, and my part in the continuing effort to rescue the souls who are still outside the security of the Savior.
A lost airplane. A lost sheep. A lost race. All of them warrant the attention of those who care. They aren’t the “small stuff;” they all matter greatly…