How do you lose a jumbo jet carrying 239 passengers? That is the question perplexing people across the world. As of this writing, Australian rescue officials are investigating debris in the southern Indian Ocean, possibly from Malaysian Airlines Flight 370. (Click here for the latest news.)

For the moment, however, the flight remains lost to the public since March 8. This seemingly implausible situation sounds like the story line from a cheesy television series a few years ago called “Lost.” The passengers on that fictional flight were castaways on a remote island for, well, about six seasons.

The world’s attention is rightly focused on the disappearance of the plane; 239 people are lost. Their families are deeply concerned and grief stricken. Concerns about potential terrorism abound. Questions about what happened remain. Until answers are found, this mystery will receive attention in the news.

For evangelical Christians, the word “lost” has a different, deeper meaning. To be lost is to be in need of the saving grace of God for salvation. In Luke 15, there are three parables that describe lostness in ways people can understand. The lost silver, the lost sheep and the lost sons are descriptions of what it means to be adrift in life without Christ in your life.

When I hear the seemingly unending news cycle about the lost passenger jet, I am reminded of the teeming masses of people who are living in lostness throughout our world. This is something I became keenly aware of in a recent missions trip to various parts of Europe. The call to be Great Commission Christians is still upon us. We still have “a story to tell to the nations.”

In our corner of the world, here in the South, lostness is more prevalent than ever before. There are people who live in our neighborhoods who have come from the nations of the world. They are lost without Christ.

I hope the mystery concerning the lost jet is soon resolved. But I also pray that the concern we have for such situations will move us to see the lost people of the world in a similar eternal condition. They are facing an eternal existence without Christ. Their lostness is not temporary, it is eternal.

Executive Director of Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions

State Missionary Rick Lance was elected in June of 1998 to serve as executive director of the State Board of Missions and treasurer of the Alabama Baptist Convention. Rick leads state missions efforts and facilitates Great Commission Ministries for the Convention's 3,200+ churches and more than one million Alabama Baptists.

Rick and his wife, Pam, are members at First Baptist Church, Montgomery. They have two daughters.

Any requests for Rick Lance to speak in or visit your church should be directed to Billie Davis at 1-800-264-1225, ext. 253 or (334) 613-2253, [email protected]

For questions about Dr. Lance's Facebook and Twitter accounts or his blog site, you may contact his social media assistant, Keith Hinson, at 1-800-264-1225, ext. 289 or (334) 613-2289, [email protected]