19 June, 2024

In Search of—Me

by | 16 October, 2023 | 0 comments

By Doug Redford 

Some time ago a newspaper carried an article entitled “Thrift Store Sleuth.” The article featured an employee with St. Vincent de Paul in a town east of Cincinnati. St. Vincent de Paul is a benevolent organization of the Catholic Church that provides, among other services, a series of thrift shops in locations around the world. People donate clothing and other goods to the shops, which then sell them at reduced prices. The money raised is used to help people in need. 

The employee, according to the article, began to take notice of boxes of pictures that people placed in the collection bin at the store. She took it upon herself (with the permission of her boss) to try to use Facebook to reunite the pictures with family members. The Facebook page called “Accidentally Donated” grew to more than 300 members helping this employee with her search. In some cases, the responses of family members who learned of the pictures of loved ones have been quite emotional. 

In one case a granddaughter recognized a picture of her grandparents after about a five-month search. “To me, it’s just a matter of time,” said the employee. “So, it’s just not an option, I guess, to give up.” 

This search to reunite pictures with their owners or relatives brings to mind God’s efforts to reunite lost humanity with himself, their Creator. We learn of this search, not on Facebook but in our “Faith-book,” the Bible. Jesus came on a search and rescue mission “to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10). He said that great emotion is displayed—rejoicing, in fact—when just one lost person comes home to the Father (Luke 15:10), as illustrated by the three parables found in Luke 15: one lost sheep, one lost coin, and one lost son.  

At Communion, each of us can and must take Jesus’ death personally. We can say with Paul that Jesus “loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20, emphasis added). He never gave up until he had accomplished the Father’s mission by giving up his spirit (Matthew 27:50) and giving his life for me. But along with that, each of us can and must recognize that Jesus has passed his search and rescue mission to the church. It was never Jesus’ option to “give up,” nor should it be ours. 

Doug Redford has served in the preaching ministry, as an editor of adult Sunday school curriculum, and as a Bible college professor. Now retired, he continues to write and speak as opportunities come. 

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