When A Plan Comes Together

I couldn’t find an item I needed recently at what is now called a “big box” store. The item was for outdoor use, but wasn’t in the outdoor section, so I asked the cashier for help. After retrieving it, I brought it back to her and she said, “I love it when a plan comes together!”

I said, “You watched ‘The A-Team’!”

So, we reminisced a bit about some of the 80s TV we used to watch.

For the uninitiated, “The A-Team” was an improbable story of some misfits unjustly convicted in military court. They escaped and began a weekly series of escapades to help people threatened by bullies. Amazingly, they fired a lot of bullets and used a lot of dynamite, but no one seemed to get seriously hurt. And they managed to stay one step ahead of the military police.

Mr. T played B.A. Baracus, and America fell in love with this quaint character. George Peppard was Hannibal Smith, the team leader, and the aforementioned motto was what he always said at the end of the show.

The Lord of the church gave us a plan to follow as his people. Luke 15 has been called “the gospel within the gospel” because it clearly shows God’s concern for all peoples. Jesus told of a shepherd who lost a sheep. He left the 99 who were safe in the wilderness and went off in search of the lost sheep. When he found it, he brought it back rejoicing.

Jesus modeled this mission for his followers. He said, “I am the good shepherd who gives my life for the sheep” (John 10: 11, 14). I’ve heard pastors say all my life that if one of us were the only one, Christ would’ve gone to the cross for us. I don’t think the Bible says that specifically, but I do believe it. Our good shepherd deemed every one of us important enough to find and bring home. Now the church is exhorted to do the same thing. And we can’t let unworthy attitudes prevent our caring.

In Southern Baptist life, we promote Sunday School enrollment. But I’ve known many classes over the years who ask to drop names from the roll since wayward members haven’t come. “They’re hurting or percentage,” they say. I’ve gingerly tried to explain that we’re not in the percentage business, but the people business. At one point a class accepted responsibility for each person and when does that responsibility end? That class may be the only group on earth praying for the lost sheep and urging them to come home.

Jesus’ plan is that his church rescues the lost sheep who’ve wandered away.