Nick scuffled along the darkened street. He gave a discarded pop can a vicious kick. His hours at work were being cut again. He was already having difficulty paying his rent. What would he do? What could he do? And what was the purpose anyway?
Nick cursed to express his frustration. “What is the _____ use of even trying? Why am I even on this _______ Earth?”
It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Nick had graduated from college with honors years ago, but the technology in his area of expertise had changed rapidly. Soon he was having to compete in the job market with younger, more skilled applicants. He had taken classes, of course, but there was nothing that he could do about his age. Some employers were required to pay him for his years of experience, which meant that he was forced to compete with applicants who had less experience and would require a lower salary but had more tec savy than Nick. Now, at 57, Nick was employed as a custodian and was barely able to make ends meet. And his hours had been cut! “What was the use? Why continue in this rotten life?”
Suddenly, a door opened about half a block up the street. A beam of light emerged lighting the way for several people to enter the building. Curious, Max found his way to the open doorway and looked in. A church! People were gathering for a Saturday night service. Max entered and took a seat near the back of the room.
The worship service had begun. Immediately Nick felt the warmth of love permeate the building. It was obvious that these people loved God and that He loved them. Nick remained seated and slumped over, but he let the love envelope his being. He was so hungry for love.
The pastor began his message with a passage from Luke 15. 4 “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? 5 And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ 7 I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.”
The pastor continued to address the congregation: “You may wonder why you are here this evening. Let me assure you that you are here because God has drawn you here. You, like the lost sheep, have wandered away from God. You are struggling to live on your own in the wilderness of sin. Tonight God has left the ninety-nine to go after you. He wants you safe in His flock. Will you acknowledge your sin of trying to live life on your own, and surrender to His love? He wants to tenderly care for you.”
Nick raised his hand and prayed the heartfelt prayer with the pastor. Immediately he felt peace, joy, and love engulf his very being. When he rose from his chair, he truly felt like a new person. He walked out of the building with the others. When he reached the street, he raised his fist in the air, gave a “whoop” of victory and did a little dance with his feet. He was loved by God, Himself! Of that he was certain. He didn’t know what the future held, but he know Who held the future.