Jesus’ brother James didn’t waste any ink in his writing. He breezed right through an introduction in his epistle to implore his readers to consider their trials joyfully and, rather than craft a winsome conclusion, he closed it with these words; “My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.” The end.
James made every word count.
This very last phrase in the book of James has the power to change everything for Christians because it requires us to love our spiritual family in a proactive way. A way that loves people so deeply that should they “wander from the truth,” we would drop everything and go after them.
Jesus made this same point when He told a series of parables in Luke 15. He told about a sheep that had wandered away from its flock, a coin that was lost in its owner’s own house and two sons who were lost from right inside their own family. Jesus’ point was that we don’t have to look far to find lost people. Some of them are wandering away from our very own churches.
A.W. Tozer wrote, “The untended garden will soon be overrun with weeds; the heart that fails to cultivate truth and root out error will shortly become a theological wilderness.” Staying connected to a thriving group of Believers will make all the difference to a person’s spiritual maturity. Why would we let people slip away from that without a solid attempt to keep them?
Do you and I notice those who are wandering away from the faith? Do we check on people who have been missing from our small group for a week or two? Do we keep in contact with the college student who is going to school out-of-town and make sure that they are getting connected with a church in their new home? Do we care enough to do the hard work and bring them back if they have strayed?
The statistics concerning people who are leaving the church are staggering. Are we going to sit back and let it happen? James tells us that when we do our job and make a solid effort to bring wandering souls back to Jesus, that we may just save them from spiritual death. I think that’s worth it, don’t you?
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Reading Plan- Week Forty-Five
Day One- James 4
Day Two- James 5
Day Three- 1 Peter 1
Day Four- 1 Peter 2
Day Five- 1 Peter 3