The Will of God
July 12, 2021
Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven. For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost. "What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying? And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray. Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish (Matthew 18:10-14).
Matthew 18;10-14 stresses the importance of the individual Christian to God. A Christian is not to be despised (thought little of; looked down on with disdain) especially by other Christians. The angels of God care for them. His Son, Jesus Christ, came to save them. When they become prodigals, He goes out after them and brings them back into the fold. When a child of God does return, God the Father and the angels of heaven celebrate his/her return.
This is how the Christian church is to treat brothers and sisters in the Lord. They are not to be ignored, overlooked, disregarded, or made to feel unimportant or unnecessary. Just as every member of the human body is important to the life and health of that body, so every member of the body of Christ is important to the life and health of that fellowship. They are to be discipled to minister the Kingdom of God to others. They are to be appreciated and honored for their service to the Lord and to the church. When they are injured by another, when they lose heart, when they ‘drop out’ of the life of the church (when they become prodigals) they are to be sought out, comforted, cared for, and brought back into active fellowship.
In many ways the modern Christian church has forgotten this. In many ways the church has become a business and the members are clients. The attitude is that if the client is not satisfied, he/she is free to find another business that will cater to their perceived ‘needs’. We need to remember that the church is the body of Jesus Christ. When one member of that body is hurt, the body hurts; the body responds to help restore that hurting member to health so that the body can continue to function as Jesus would have it function. There is a business side to the church, but the ministry of the church takes priority over business.
Jesus said it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish. The word ‘perish’ normally means to be destroyed completely, like death. Here it has a different meaning. In this text the word ‘perish’ means to be ruined or lost. God’s desire is that all of His children be healthy, whole, and serving Him and others. When one is not, it is the will of the Father that he/she be sought out and ministered to and restored to active Christian life.
“Father, forgive us for not being more attentive to the needs of others and letting them ‘slip through the cracks’ of church life. Help me to be more aware of the needs of my brothers and sisters so that they know they are loved, wanted, and needed in the life and ministry of our church. To Your honor and glory I ask, Amen.”