William Pilkenton was one month away from turning eight years old. His family had traveled from Bellingham, Washington, to Tofino, British Columbia for a vacation. He and his father were walking up from the beach when his father turned to look for him and realized he was gone.
When children go missing, fathers start looking. And so did this one. Before long, the entire community was helping him search for this missing child. Search and rescue crews scoured the area. Search coordinator Garth Cameron said, “I don’t think there’s a square foot in this town that doesn’t have footprints.”
When children go missing, parents go looking. And that’s what God has done. There’s not a square foot on earth that doesn’t have his footprints. He began searching for them the moment Adam and Eve made a choice and lost their way. He sent the nation of Israel looking. He sent his Son to “seek and save what was lost” (Luke 19:10).
Today he sends his church. In Acts 1:8 we find his search and rescue plan: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Jesus sent the disciples into the middle of Jerusalem and told them to wait. While they were waiting a crowd gathered for Pentecost. Some estimate Jerusalem swelled to over one million people during this time. The Holy Spirit came on them, Peter preached, and the church swelled from 120 to over three thousand. It didn’t stop there. The devoted themselves to “the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer” (Acts 2:42). That first church in Jerusalem grounded its people in the Word, in deep community, to sharing meals and sharing Christ, and to prayer. They had to. The task at hand was too big for them to accomplish on their own. They needed each other. Mostly they needed God.
That hasn’t changed, has it? We still have the same commission to be witnesses for Jesus in our Jerusalems and in our world. We are still called to the Word, to love each other, to share life, and to prayer. And we are still searching for those who have lost their way. We are still searching because the Father still has children who are missing. So go to your Jerusalem and wait. God will bring you power as you serve him there. Let’s not leave a square foot without our footprints.