Last Monday, after an exciting night of watching slow pitch softball my wife and I were puzzled with what we saw as we pulled into our driveway. There was a lady standing outside her car in the middle of our driveway looking meticulously at our house. An interested buyer? A stalker? Who was this mystery woman? When she saw the garage door open she glanced at us, hopped in her car, and quickly backed out without saying a word. Being the brave man that I am, I told Stacey to talk to her while I parked the car and got the girls inside the house.
As I listened to Stacey visiting with this woman I could hear them both laughing. My wife kept saying, “Thanks… thank you… that is so nice.” Knowing that we were safe and that Stacey sounded like she was enjoying her time with this stranger I decided to come out with the girls and figure out what was going on.
As I approached my wife held up the digital camera that we had lost back in February and said, “Look honey, she found it and found us!” This digital camera was the source of much heartache as it was a Christmas gift from my parents to our family. We had only used it for a couple weeks before it came up missing. Indeed, the case of the missing camera was a sensitive subject around our house.
The lady went on to explain how she had found it in her neighborhood park (a neighborhood across the street from ours) and that she assumed that she would see our family back soon and return it to us. The woman said that every time a young family would walk past her home or be in the park she would grab the camera and compare their faces to ones on the LCD screen. Months had passed and she was making no progress.
She finally decided to take matters into her own hands. She started looking through the pictures on our camera and noticed the home in the background of most of the pictures did not match the style of the homes in her neighborhood. Apparently there was also a picture that showed our home and our neighbor’s house in the background. “That was the key to cracking the case,” she said and she set out on a journey to find us.
So that brings us to last Monday night, she matched our home and our neighbor’s home together and was coming to return the camera.
Simply amazing. What this woman did went above and beyond what others would have done in a similar situation. How many people would do such a thing? Frankly, I’m not sure I would. I probably would have erased the pictures and counted the recovered camera as a blessing from God. This woman however, had other plans. She told us that once she saw the faces of our little girls on the screen she knew that she must find the family and return the camera. My wife and I were grateful and somewhat speechless really.
This whole ordeal got me to thinking about how God feels about humanity. We see in Luke 15 three stories of how God views those that are lost. Do you remember the stories? There is the story of the lost sheep, lost coin, and lost son. In each instance the lost item takes priority over the found items. The shepherd leaves 99 sheep to go find the one straggler. The woman forgets about the other nine coins in search of one. The father cannot rest until his lost son returns.
The woman who returned our camera is a picture of how we should live out our Christianity. She waited patiently and looked intently for days, weeks, and months to reunite us with our lost camera. Keep in mind she didn’t even know who we were! When the waiting wasn’t working she took matters into her own hands and put on her detective hat. She sought us out in an effort to make the reunion a success. We too should constantly be on the lookout to return the lost to our heavenly Father.
I wonder what would happen if we lived out our Faith the same way. What if we looked for opportunities to reconcile people with their heavenly Father? What if we pursued people the way this woman pursued us? Isn’t that what we’re called to do as Christians?
There was nothing pushy or weird about what she did. It was genuine love and care that the woman demonstrated and I’m inspired to do the same. We’ve been reconciled to God and now it’s our job to help reconcile others.
Look at this verse from 2 Corinthians 5:18-21:
God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.
God loves family reunions. The fact remains He still has lots of long lost sons and daughters out there and he has entrusted us to help them come home. The cool part is, there is a reunion party waiting for them when they get there.