I am an unapologetic bumper sticker junkie. Not that I would ever have one on my vehicle, but I really get a kick out of reading them on other drivers’ bumpers or the little sticker decals hanging in windows. There are the serious “My child is an honor student at whatever high school,” and the alter serious “My child whipped your honor student.” There are the public awareness: “Kill Cancer” and “Support this or that candidate.” My favorites are the humorous: “Honk If You Love Jesus” which leads to “Tithe If You Love Jesus, Anyone Can Honk.” The little yellow placard which warns us of a “student driver” and shows a run-over fire hydrant elicits a chuckle, thinking of some we know. “Ex In Trunk” always seems to get a smile, but the purpose of this pastor’s column is the signs I saw that at first caused soft feelings: “Baby On Board,” but were erased by abstruse emotions when the other side of the car’s back window had a sign that said “Who Cares?”
In Luke 15, the Pharisees of Jesus’ day showed they didn’t care for humanity’s lostness (to be without a God relationship) by discrediting those who would connect with “the other side,” or those different than we are. So Jesus told three stories about people who lost something; a shepherd who lost a sheep, a woman who lost a coin and a father who lost a son. He impressed on his audience how primary it was to find lost things.
The Pharisees obviously didn’t care or were care-less. Why? First because they had to be culturally correct. They toed the party line and anyone who didn’t agree with them were the enemy. They were theologically correct; if someone’s religious belief contrasted their own, they must be necessarily considered reprobate heathen. The Pharisees manifested that they were culturally and religiously correct, but actually, they were car-lessly wrong. They didn’t really care.
God, on the other hand, evidently cared. Jesus in his parables showed that the lost (sheep, coin, and son representing lost humanity) is a loss to God, which makes them invaluable to Him. And then the Lord makes it crystal clear that if someone is indeed lost, he (or she) is hopelessly and helplessly lost without the Finder (God, Himself, represented by the shepherd, the woman and the father). God really cares.
The culmination of these two alternatives is the determination of the knowledge of: do we really care? The Pharisees don’t. The Lord does. Do we? How can we care? First by repenting of the prejudices we have carried since childhood and those who experience produces. Then, we must accept the ownership of the task God has commissioned us with; namely to love Him and love our neighbor, carrying the Gospel of salvation and satisfaction to a lost and hurting world. We should reach out to comfort the hurting and find the lost.
Who cares? God cares, and so should we.
The Rev. Butch White is the pastor at First Baptist Church.