“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. Luke 15:4-7 (NIV)
You know sheep are not the smartest of animals, don’t you? Yes, that’s what I understand. Do you know why I have compared you to a sheep? Yes, I think so. Tell me how you compare favorably with a sheep. That’s a funny way to put it. I don’t like to think that I’m like a sheep. Why is that? A sheep is pretty dumb and defenseless. They have a tendency to wander off into trouble and get bruised and battered as a result. Yes, they certainly do. But you’ve done all that haven’t you. Yes, I’ve wandered away from you into danger. I’ve allowed myself to be hurt by the consequences of my bad and sinful choices. I’ve known what it is like to be off alone by myself crying out just like a sheep. Did my crying out to you sound at all like the bah of a sheep? Yes, quite similar actually. Wasn’t that like a little object lesson for you? Yes, in those moments I felt very sheepish. You felt more than that, didn’t you? Yes, I felt lost and without hope. That was a good place to be. Why is that? It showed you that you needed me, didn’t it? Yes, in that place all my independence, stubbornness, and pride was set aside because I was in desperate need. Yes, you were. It’s a good thing the story did not end there, isn’t it? Yes, it is.
Tell me what you think happened. When I was wandering off into the world, you were pursuing me. When I thought I was all alone, you were right there. You were watching and waiting for just the right moment when I’d had enough of the world and was ready to turn away from it to give my life to you. Yes, I was. What happened next? I asked forgiveness for all my sin and bad choices. I said I was sorry. I told you that I wanted to follow you and leave my old life behind. Yes, you did. What did it do for you? You forgave, cleansed and healed me. You put me on your shoulders and carried me. You brought me into a time and place where you refreshed, revived, and restored my soul. You allowed me to drink deeply of your kindness, mercy and love. I was able to feast on your word. You changed my heart and mind and desires as your Holy Spirit worked your word into my life. Yes, you’re right about all of this. I’d like to ask you a question. Go ahead.
What about now? What is now the desire of your heart? I want to know you. I want to be like you. I want to join you in what you are doing. What do you think that is? You are a good shepherd who came to seek and save the lost. Yes, I am. Would you like to join me in that work? Yes, Lord I would. Then you will. You will go after the lost and feed my sheep. Yes, Lord I will.
Lord, I was off by myself, stubbornly wandering in a life of sin. My life was a mess. I was bruised and battered. You left heaven to find and save me. Thank you for rescuing me and carrying me back to you so I could live a new life. Amen
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