Bringing Back The Wanderers

James 5:19-20 (NIV)
 My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, 20 remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.
Christians need to look out for each other.  We need to be concerned for our brothers and sisters in Christ.  One human being cannot possibly keep tabs on hundreds of sheep all by themselves.  It takes an entire church to care for each other in order to keep people from wandering from the truth, as James says.
In the church, we tend to look to one person (the pastor) to lead the congregation.  This is not what the New Testament teaches.  In fact, the term “pastor” comes from a Greek word that is used of the elders of the church, not one person.  The elders of the church are to oversee the spiritual growth and provide pastoral care for the congregation.  The person who preaches the Word of God is more of a preaching elder than some kind of CEO of the congregation.  The preacher is part of the team of elders who are to be tending to the flock.  It is not the elders’ job alone, though.
In a church of hundreds of people, the elders need the help of the entire congregation in order to keep people from wandering from the truth.  People have different spheres of influence and deeper relationships with various people in the congregation.  The elders cannot possibly know everyone in a congregation.  The preacher cannot possibly know what is going on in everyone’s lives.  But people within the congregation, as they build relationships, can know each other on a deeper level.  They can look out for one another.  Brothers and sisters need to care for each other and their spiritual growth.  This means that we need to pray for each other.  We need to ask the deeper questions.  We need more than just a hug or a handshake and a “Hi!  How are you?  Fine?  GREAT!  Me too!”  We need to spend time with each other.  We’re not all going to be best friends, but we can go deeper than surface level with some and actually invest ourselves in their lives.  This way, when someone begins to wander from the truth, we can bring them back to this wonderful Savior who loves us so very much.
PRAYER:  Father in Heaven, I pray today for my relationships with my brothers and sisters.  Give me a heart the longs to see them make it home safe and sound to Your arms.  Help me to see the spiritual needs of my church family so that if there are those wandering away from the truth, You might use me to bring them back.  I pray for those I know who are wandering away and I ask that you would stir in their hearts to bring them back to You.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

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