The Value of A Soul

I have to start this blog on the value of a soul with a story Pastor Rick Bezet told the staff at New Life Church in Conway, AR during a staff meeting. He said he would think so much about reaching the “next one”, looking for the “next one” that he prays for God to show him the “one” that he was speaking to in every service. No matter what the venue, the size of the audience or the location, he is always looking for the “one” that God has brought to that service for him to speak to.

We have an example in the Gospels in the form of a parable that Jesus told. It is the story of the lost sheep. It appears in Luke 15:4-7. In the Message version it says, “Suppose one of you had a hundred sheep and lost one. Wouldn’t you leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the lost one until you found it? When found, you can be sure you would put it across your shoulders, rejoicing, and when you got home call in your friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Celebrate with me! I’ve found my lost sheep!’ Count on it—there’s more joy in heaven over one sinner’s rescued life than over ninety-nine good people in no need of rescue.”

In this parable we have an example of the importance of the lost “one” to Jesus. And if it mattered that much to Jesus, it must matter to us. That is why this value is “The Value of A Soul” and not “The Value of Souls”. In the church we know instinctively that people matter to God. We say we exist to “seek and save the lost”, and we know we are called to “see souls saved”. But I am afraid that we have allowed the usage of the plural descriptive noun that we have generalized it to the point that we can easily excuse away our lack of action.

It is easy to value souls, the big picture, and not reach the homeless living behind the dumpster on our church parking lots. But when you value every single “ONE”, now you are looking at the world differently.

The Great Commission, Matthew 28:19, “Go into all the world and make disciples…” That is our mission on earth, but I want to challenge you to not make it so generic trying to reach everyone that we miss the ONE sitting in our services that need to have a friend, or the ONE serving us at our favorite restaurant that needs a prayer.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in his will not die, but will have eternal life.” (John 3:16) I love the fact that God could love the world so much to make the ultimate sacrifice of sending Jesus to die on the cross. I have heard the argument many times, “If he loved us that much, why did not send another?” Because, as a father, the ultimate act of sacrifice is not to throw yourself in front of the bullet, it’s to let your child take it. God loved us more than anything else. But don’t get lost in the text theologically. He loved the whole world, yes, but he also loves you and I, individually.

I believe that every person matters to God, that he knows the number of hair on your head. That he dies for every-ONE, so that no-ONE would have to die, but would have everlasting life.

People matter to God, therefore they MUST matter to us. We will do everything within our power to reach ONE more person. Because there is ONE more person that needs to know this life-giving message. ONE more person that is searching for something real.

Am I going to continue to grow a large church? Yes! As long as ONE more is out there we are going to do everything we can to reach them. We are going to, in the words of Pastor Greg Surrat of Seacoast Church, “Cast a wide net.” But we are never going to allow the numbers to be more important that the ONE.

It’s time for some people to stop huddling around the 99 and run after the ONE! We believe the Value of a Soul is the most important value that every church, ministry, and life should be built on. Who is the ONE Jesus has placed into your life? As Rick does when he speaks, let us walk into every situation, every venue, every environment and every gathering we find ourselves looking for the ONE. Then let’s have the courage and the drive to go after them, pulling them in with the love of Jesus Christ, who, by the way, loves THEM so much he put YOU in their path today…

Run After the One! 

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