I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.
- Luke 15:7
Have you ever lost something of value or importance? I know whenever I lose my keys, cell phone or wallet, it can be a stressful experience where my entire focus and attention would go towards finding the lost item. I would retrace my steps, perhaps even ask family and friends to help me search for the lost item. Everything else in life did not seem to matter until that lost item is found.
In the parable of the lost sheep, Jesus explains that when a shepherd loses a sheep, the shepherd would abandon the herd in search of that lost sheep. When the sheep is found, the shepherd would pick up the sheep, carry the sheep over his shoulders, and gather his friends and family to rejoice over the found sheep. The elation that the shepherd experiences, is how he describes the joy God feels and how us Christians should feel when one of our brothers or sisters repents and comes home to the Lord.
There is so much that can be learned from Luke 15. The first thing I noticed is that the shepherd goes out in search of this lost sheep. As Christians, I find that we find comfort in gathering with other Christians, as we should. But there are times in our bonding that we end up alienating those who we perceive are not like us. We shy away from those who we believe would lead us to temptation, and are "sinners". But the truth is that we are all sinners. We are all lost sheep in our own way. And if there is someone who has gone astray, God encourages us to go to them, find them, and lead them home with joyfulness and welcoming celebration. We are not meant to just stay within our herd and let those who have lost their way fend for themselves. I've felt lost many times in my life, and there is comfort in knowing that I can always rely on God to find me and lead me back home.
And when bringing a lost sheep home, it is a joyous occasion. Not a forced affair, nor a time for judgment. But one of celebration that we are reunited with friends and family.
Out of 100 sheep, the 99 who are righteous does not give God as much joy as the joy of that 1 lost sheep who comes home. This should be a lesson for us to be good shepherds. We should not be people who focuses on being righteous in our own ways, staying with the herd. Instead, we should be shepherds that go, help, and care for the lost sheep such that we can be reunited.
Reflection: Read Luke 15. Have you been lost some time in your life? How does this parable of the lost sheep inform you about your relationship with Christ?
What does the parable of the lost sheep tell us about God the good shepherd? Read this week's blog on Christian Calm Radio, and enjoy our praise and worship music channels on our app.