Sometimes I lose things. I try and put say my keys and my wallet in the same spot every day when I go home, so I know where to look for them in the following morning. But sometimes I put them in a different place. And I can’t remember where it is, but you can’t get on with your day unless you got your keys to the car and your wallet. So ya tear things apart. Maybe you misplace things too.
What’s your approach? Do you get all worried and flustered? Do ya search and search and search till you can find it? Well, it may depend on what you’ve misplaced. The more important it is, the greater the lengths you will go to find it.
Jesus uses that example of losing something in Matthew chapter 18. He speaks of a shepherd and his sheep.
“What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go looking for the one that wandered away? If he finds it—Amen I tell you—he rejoices more over that one sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not wander away. In the same way, your Father in heaven does not want even one of these little ones to perish.Matthew 18:12-14
Jesus used that illustration of a shepherd with a flock of sheep. One of them wandered away and so the shepherd left the ninety-nine to search for that one sheep. Why would the Shepherd do that? It’s because that one sheep is important to him. And so he leaves the 99 and goes and searches until he finds it. And then he brings it back.
But notice the response of the shepherd. Jesus said he rejoices. The shepherd doesn’t scold the sheep for wandering away. Doesn’t put it in the pen all by itself to make sure that it’s sorry for doing what it does. He rejoices. He rejoices that the sheep is found.
You know that sheep is really a picture of you and me. We wonder from God’s flock. We wander away and live our lives the way we want to live them without any regard for the shepherd and how he wants us to live. We set our own course. The Shepherd doesn’t throw up his hands and say “if that’s the way you’re going to be, then you’re on your own.” No, he leaves and he searches. He wants to find us. And when he comes to us and finds where we are with his word, he doesn’t put us in the corner until we’re sorry. He rejoices. He’s happy that he has found the sheep and can restore it to the flock.
So maybe you’ve wandered. Maybe you’re far from where God wants you to be. Don’t think that he hates you. Don’t think that he wants to punish you. No, he wants you to come back. He wants you to be part of his flock once again. He wants to rejoice with you that you have found. And Jesus lived and died so that that could happen.
No matter how far you’ve wandered, no matter how bad you’ve been, Jesus offered sufficient payment on the cross so that you are forgiven. He loves you and wants you to be part of his flock. So heed his call, don’t keep wandering! Come back to the Shepherd! Know his love and then the father in heaven will rejoice along with all the flock that the sheep has been found.
May God bless you with His Word and lead you back to your good Shepherd Jesus the Savior. Amen.