One Lost Sheep

August 4 — Luke 15:1–7

“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?” (Luke 15:4)

When my two oldest daughters were 9 and 11 years old, we took a trip to New England. My mother, who was in the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s disease, also accompanied us. For most of the trip, my wife or I would take turns — one would keep an eye on the girls, the other would watch out for Mom. We tried very hard to keep the five of us together at all times in order to keep everyone safe.
 
While we were touring Boston, following the Freedom Trail, we stopped for a moment in front of one of the historic churches where a group of people were just exiting. When the crowd began to thin, we proceeded into the historic cemetery next to the church to read some of the headstones. A few minutes passed before I turned to my wife and asked where one of our daughters was. She said that she thought she was with me. When we had scanned the cemetery and did not see her, the urgency of the situation and the fear of what may have happened to her gripped us. My wife immediately headed back toward the church and I sprinted frantically down the street, calling out my daughter’s name.
 
What seemed like an eternity was actually less than five minutes when I heard my wife calling me back. Our daughter, who had not seen us leave the front of the church, had wisely stayed put and asked the docent for help. When my wife arrived, our daughter was safely waiting for her.
 
The interesting thing is that, when one of our daughters was lost, we did not hesitate to leave behind our other daughter and my mother who were both safe and sound in order to search for the one who was lost. Our hearts and minds were focused only on the one which was lost. In His parable, Jesus uses the example of one lost sheep that the shepherd leaves everything else in order to find as a picture of how God the Father acts toward those who are lost and living without a relationship with Him. Just as my wife and I turned our full attention to finding our daughter in Boston, so God fully attends to the wandering heart that needs a Savior.
 
This reminds us of two very important things. First of all, you and I have been that one lost soul. God has sought us out and called us home. He loved each and every one of us enough to keep calling our names until we heard Him and responded. You and I are that important to Him!
 
The second thing that this parable reminds us is that every person is that important to Him. No one is “worthless” in the eyes of the Father. He seeks each and every lost person hoping they will hear Him calling their name and come home. No one child of God is more important to Him than any other. What does that mean to us? First of all, it means we should be thankful for a Heavenly Father who never stopped looking for us when we were lost and who lovingly called us back home. Second, it means we are called to be part of the “search party” going out to find those who are lost and help lead them home. 
 
Are we doing that? Are you thankful for God diligently searching for you when you were lost? Express that to Him today. One way you could express that in a tangible way is to actively join the “search party” and lead others home to the Father.