|“If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying?” -The words of Jesus Christ, Matthew 18:12
I read this scripture verse (see above) two days ago with a rather startling new observation. That’s what I love about reading the Bible over and over again. I’ve read it through now every year since 1976.
And when I do, I often find myself thinking, “I’ve read this story so many times before…but God continues to show me new things!” Upon each reading, I gain fresh and exciting insights that I didn’t expect.
In this story, Jesus, the Good Shepherd, leaves 99 sheep behind. Why? Because He’s compelled to go look for the one lost sheep. How many times have you heard this story? Hundreds of times? Thousands of times? Me, too.
However, two days ago, it struck me hard when I thought, “Jim, most likely you’d look at your flock, count 99, and conclude, ‘One’s missing…I’m tired…I don’t have the energy to go looking…five of these sheep are pregnant anyway…
I’ll just stay here and rest and relax. It’s been a long day. One out of 100, that’s not bad. This hasn’t happened in years and probably won’t ever happen again.’”
I can imagine myself finding all kinds of reasons for NOT having to go out and search for one lost sheep. I’m very good at justifying the things I don’t want to do. How about you?
Nevertheless, Jesus asks us, “Who wouldn’t go out and find the lost sheep?” I shout, “ME!” I think it’s very possible that I wouldn’t. And, yes, of course I feel a sense of shame to admit this.
But, JESUS WILL go out and look. JESUS DID, and JESUS DOES. He looked for me, and He looked for YOU, too. He took as much time as necessary to find you. And why does it matter? It matters most to that one, lost, lonely little sheep or lamb.
To him or her it matters – it’s life or death. It mattered immeasurably to you and to me.
The attitude of the Good Shepherd – NOT to allow one member of His flock to perish – represents the all-encompassing love of God and God alone.
This perfect love is what clearly distinguishes us from God – it’s the difference between the Creator and the created. God loves you regardless.
God loves you always. God will search you out… He will always find you. Praise God!Prayer:
Lord God, I cannot possibly hide from Your grace-filled love, nor will You ever allow me to remain lost.
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Can you think of a time when you tried to hide from God? Were you able to? Or, can you remember a time when you inadvertently wandered away from His will for your life? How did you get back?
By Jim Coleman.
May 2, 2011