2002-06-06 - Ninety-Nine
Matt 18:12-14 "What do you think? If any man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go and search for the one that is straying? 13 "And if it turns out that he finds it, truly I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine which have not gone astray. 14 "Thus it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish. (NAS)
If I received a 99% on a test during my academic years, I thought I had done pretty well. I was often as disappointed over the one answer I had gotten wrong - since it was usually a careless mistake - as I would be over a more modest test grade. But I could take great solace in a very solid test grade and the disappointment passed.
Now let's turn those test grades into sheep and here we are in the parable of the ninety-nine sheep. Here is the heart of the Good Shepherd who can take no solace in the ninety-nine safe sheep when one is missing. The sheep all belong to the Shepherd, including the one that is straying. Surely the modern corporate mindset would tell us to cut our losses and be certain that the remaining assets are preserved. The one loss will be made up in growth. Sensible?
Now take the next step and turn the sheep into people, specifically Christians - sons and daughters of the Lord of Creation. The one that has strayed is one of your brothers or sisters in Christ. The dynamics of the situation shift abruptly and there is worry and concern over the one that is missing from fellowship. When stated this plainly it is clear that the heart of Jesus would be seeking out the one that is wandering. The Holy Spirit is pulling on the heart of the missing individual drawing him or her back to the Lord.
Now take the final step and that missing one is you. Has something been done or said that has hurt you so badly that no one will understand? Have you been gone so long that the proverbial roof would fall in if you showed up? God understands. He knows your heart and understands the pain even if no one else does. At some point it matters far less who was right or wrong. If the talking never starts, the pain will never quite go away. If you are hiding in the rocks wanting to be found and not wanting to be found, the only way you will ever know if it can be better is to call out and let Him know where you are.
The ninety-nine will be glad to see you.
Grace & Peace,