“What man among you, who has 100 sheep and loses one of them, does not leave the 99 in the open field and go after the lost one until he finds it?” Luke 15:4 HCS
Prostitutes. Drug users. Alcoholics who can’t hold a job. Ex-cons. These are the lost sheep that Jesus finds precious. He hung out with their “type” when he walked this earth.
And he took the heat for it, too. The respectable people criticized him for it. Pastors in ties and Sunday School teachers in pressed khakis. Stock brokers. Soccer moms. The well-behaved 99 sheep. They didn’t it like it one bit that their shepherd left them in the open field to chase after that … rabble.
But he did.
Recently, my husband met a tired single-mom with a dead-end job. She was overweight and aging. Her front teeth were pocked with cavities. He asked her to church, and she said this:
“I gave up on church a long time ago. Every time we walked in, we were out of place. People stared at me and my kids because we weren’t dressed like them. We don’t fit in at church.”
Jesus looked at that mom, and called her precious. If Jesus were here, he would run out of our air-conditioned church buildings to seek her out. He’d listen to her heart. Have dinner with her and her kids. Draw her to himself.
Have you ever heard the cliché “You are the hands and feet of Jesus?”
Well … you are. I am. If am to follow him, I need to act like him, to see the value of the lost sheep, to seek her out. I have to cross the comfort line, leave the pew and my own social class. I’m writing this to myself, to remind myself, because really, I get too busy to do this. It’s not that I’m adverse to doing it, just that my schedule is so full that I don’t find the time.
But if I want to seek out what is precious to God, I’m going to need to change that somehow.
“When he has found it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders, and coming home, he calls his friends and neighbors together saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, because I have found my lost sheep!’” Luke 15:5-6 HCS