When One is All that Matters

During a recent holiday get-together with my extended family, I was excitedly talking about our programme, The Prisoner’s Journey® (TPJ). One of our newer programmes, TPJ launched in 2014 in two countries and was successful beyond our hopes. We
will launch the programme in 33 countries by the end of 2017. This structured, repeatable, and scalable in-prison programme is based on the Gospel of Mark and invites attendees to begin or renew a relationship with Christ—introducing prisoners to their fellow prisoner, Jesus of Nazareth.

As I explained the results we’ve experienced, the number of lives already redeemed, and our anticipated goal of reaching one million prisoners by 2020, I felt a check in my spirit.

I realised that I was becoming proud of the large numbers—the grand expectations, the bigness. But the number that Jesus was most excited about was one.

In Luke 15, Jesus tells the parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son. Consider this passage: “Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together
and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent” (Luke 15:3–7, NIV).

What I find to be the most challenging and inspirational within these three parables is the passion, unwavering sacrificial effort, and unconditional forgiveness Christ displays for the least of these—the one.

As we build and expand our programmes, and further our ministry activities, let’s never lose sight that our ministry is about showing Christ’s love and helping free one soul at a time and bringing care to one child in need at a time.

We, of course, should enthusiastically endorse our programmes, but drive the point that we meet these goals because of what God does in individual souls.

My encouragement for you today is to not get discouraged when things take time to build. Our Saviour is thankful for the one life you’re helping to change.

How will you show Christ’s love to one person today?

Article originally published January 6, 2016, in Prison Fellowship International’s PFI Roundtable.

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