Astray Little Sheep
Well, for days I have been pondering the parable about the Shepherd who has 100 sheep and one goes astray and He goes to find Him. But hang with me here. I pondered in the context of "All we like sheep have gone astray." So, in considering this, I’ve always focused on the Father's heart to go after the one. Yet my focus shifted to the attitude of the 99.
If the Word is true, each one of the 99 got the first-hand experience of "going astray" at some point during their "sheep life!" So I wondered, what did they say when their little sheep pal went astray? We’re they so happy in their pasture that they simply said, "Oh well, another one bites the dust." Did they forget the trauma of departing the boundary lines of green pasture themselves and being left alone at night being cut up by tumbleweed, no food and lonely? Did they forget how far gone they were and assume this little sheep was just too far gone? Or when the Shepherd said, "Oh no there is only 99 of you; I’ve got a big job to do," did the 99 join in the burden recognizing the arm of the Lord is never too short and join in prayer with the Shepherd’s personal mission of retrieval? Or were there "enough of them" that the one did not really even matter? Or worse, they did not even notice! After all 99 is quite a congregation - don’t 'ya think- certainly enough to make a go of it. Maybe they got so caught up they did not even notice the Shepherd’s departure to seek the one? Or worse: it is taking too long; it’s hopeless.
I was quite seized by this in a very very deep way. Everyday I remember being so tangled up in briar, starving, with little hope, looking for a tiny grass crumb, only to realize it was a poisonous weed. Soooo Lost!! My tangling was an inside deal. I thought to myself tonight, Lord, let me never think one is so tangled that you can’t unravel. Lord, never let me get so comfortable in the pasture that I forget there are dangerous woods and helpless sheep are roaming in it, appearing capable on the outside but quite scared on the inside. Lord, let me never stop praying for that one lost sheep that I rubbed shoulders with either casually or intimately.
I hope I conveyed my heart adequately. May I be conscious of the irreplaceable One that the Shepherd is relentless to bring back to the fold. May I never forget where I came from! And more than anything, show deep and amazing grace when they return. Apparently settling for 99 was not enough in Jesus’ eyes because He needed 100 to be satisfied!