Devotion – October 3rd – “Lost”
Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to him. And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
So Jesus told them this parable: “Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’
“Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. “Or what woman having ten silver coins, if she loses one of them, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’”
In confirmation class on Wednesday we read this parable. Afterwards I asked them this question: If you were the shepherd what would you have done? Would you go into the dark wilderness and look for that one lost sheep, thus risking your own life and also leaving the flock of 99 unattended and therefore vulnerable to attack, or would you sadly have to write off that one sheep as a casualty of life? Now it’s your turn. Please answer that question before you read on.
All the confirmands decided that for the sake of the 99, they would have to stay put and let that lost sheep fend for itself. I could tell they felt bad about this decision, but they knew it was the right answer.
After making their decision I threw in an added description of that lost sheep. I said, “What if that one lost sheep happened to be your best friend? One of your brothers or sisters? Your mother or father? As soon as the lost sheep was identified as someone they love deeply, they all immediately changed their answer, saying they would risk the 99 to go out and save the one they love so much.
I went on to tell them that in the parable, Jesus is the shepherd and THEY are the lost sheep! I told them that if at any time in their lives they found themselves lost, they could know, with absolute assurance, that Jesus would not look for them, but he wouldn’t stop the search until he found them, and lovingly brought them back to safety.
In this parable, you too are that one lost sheep. Take to heart the fact that you too, are the one Jesus loves so much, that he can’t bear the thought of leaving you alone or lost in this dark and sometimes very cruel world we live in. Jesus can’t bear to write you off, or consider letting you fend for yourself. He loves you too much for that. And, if you think for one moment that your behavior, or your wandering makes Jesus love you any less, read the opening lines of chapter 15 again, and see who Jesus is sitting with. He loves us all – always – no mater what. That is a guaranteed, absolutely non- negotiable promise from Jesus.
How wonderful to be loved so much!!!!!!
~ Blessings, Dan