One day recently someone came into my office at the church with a small framed picture. He handed me the picture and asked if I knew any of the four people in the picture. Two of the ladies in the picture looked vaguely familiar but I couldn’t put any names to the faces.
Several weeks ago there was an article on Yahoo news about some pictures from the civil war. I was surprised to learn that there are a vast number of unidentified photographs in museums and archives. Several of the pictures were posted on the Yahoo site hoping someone might recognize the people in the pictures.
Both the picture found in the church parking lot and the unidentified pictures from the civil war had at least two things in common.
The people in the pictures were important to someone. Important enough that they had the pictures made, framed, and perhaps even carried with the person who owned the pictures. That is certainly the case with the civil war pictures because they were found on or near the bodies after the battles ended.
These pictures, like the ones we carry in our wallets, also serve to remind us of the people in our lives who are important to us. And in the case of the pictures carried by the civil war soldiers, they provided a visual reminder of home. They offered a little comfort to men who didn’t know from day-to-day if they would ever go home.
They say that home is where the heart is. There is a lot of truth in that statement but I don’t think it goes far enough. The people and things that we truly treasure can be found in our hearts, much like pictures on a refrigerator.
Noted pastor and author Max Lucado is quoted as saying, “If God had a refrigerator, your picture would be on it. If He had a wallet, your photo would be in it. He sends you flowers every spring and a sunrise every morning… Face it, friend. He is crazy about you!”
In one of his parables, Jesus talks about a shepherd leaving the ninety-nine sheep to go in search of the one lost sheep. Many of Jesus’ parables were about seeking the lost, but more than that his whole life and ministry were about healing the sick and seeking the lost.
There was a happy ending with the picture found in the church parking lot. Someone recognized the people in the picture and we were able to return it.
There are a lot of lost people in our world. God has their picture on his refrigerator and God has a place for them in heaven. But sadly, they have wandered away and don’t remember that they are loved and that they are missed.
If you know any of these people, take a moment to remind them that God is looking for them.
John R. Fowler. John is the pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Prosper.