33/100 #SoWillI #Inspired
In the parable of the lost sheep in the book of Luke chapter 15, Jesus talks about the shepherd leaving 99 sheep to go look for one lost one. I have always thought about how loved that ‘one’ is, but today I have been thinking about the 99 that were left. Really? We are here Lord! We have been following you, we have been serving faithfully, then you leave us? For that ‘one’ who strayed? As I kept thinking through this, I jokingly told my husband, if I was among the 99, the shepherd would come back and find me leading a ‘peaceful’ demonstration with placards written ‘All Sheep Matter’. Surely, 99 followed you, you are in a safe place, why go back for that one who decided to stray?
Then I remembered the prodigal son’s brother. I was sounding exactly like him. Jealous and angry! Forgetting that I have been in the house all this time. Forgetting that I am privileged to be safe in my father’s house. Luke 15:28-30 “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’
Do you at times react like me? Or like this older son? May the Lord forgive us. Many times we look at people who stray and in our hearts we feel like they don’t deserve attention. We are quick to judge and conclude that they don’t need a second chance. Why is she being allowed to step in church and we all know what she has been doing? Why are they going to visit him yet he has been living in sin? Why are they being friendly to that family? They don’t even take salvation seriously? You may not say it out loud, but think it. Wondering why the church invests in missions department instead of buying those already in church new uniform? Right? the fat calf should be slaughtered for those who have been around. Right? No, that’s wrong.
God calls us to love one another; I have come to learn that if I truly love my neighbor I will tell them about Christ. I will be happy being left with 99 others as the shepherd goes after the one. In fact once I see Him holding the ‘now found’ sheep I should be the one slaughtering the calf and leaving the celebration. That is love. As Christ loved us, while we were still sinners. The 99 were not left in danger, they were left in an open ground, safe for them. Left to prepare for the great celebration when the shepherd returns with the one. Ready to celebrate in the great feast when the lost son returns.
Plus, at some point each of us becomes the ‘one’ who strayed. The Bible says that “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:6. You and I stray all the time and God is always drawing us back to Himself. In the same way. we should show mercy to those around us, we should actively participate in the great commission, we should celebrate when that sinner comes to the knowledge of Jesus. Because all sheep matter, the one and the ninety nine. Whether you are safe in the open field or lost in the thicket, you matter .