I am Precious

Unattractive People are Precious in His Sight

 

“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

I am Precious

Tucked Close to the Shepherd

“Behold, the Lord GOD will come with strong [hand], and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward [is] with him, and his work before him.

He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry [them] in his bosom, [and] shall gently lead those that are with young.” –Isaiah 40:10-11, KJV

Our dog died recently. Not a happy way to start a post, I know. Forgive me, and go with me on this, because I got an image pressed into my head, and this verse flashed it through my mind.

Billy, our Beagle, was old and frail. We knew the time to say goodbye to our little four-pawed buddy was coming. And when it came, he hid himself out in the back yard under a bush. My husband went out to get him, because it was cold and wet outside, and because I don’t think anyone or anything should die alone. With gentle hands, my husband scooped Billy up into his arms and carried him back to the house.

Sick and frail, Billy couldn’t even stand. But he was brought into our home in arms that are both strong and loving.

Imagine the I AM, the mighty God, the King of Kings tending His flock like a shepherd. Can you picture him kneeling close to the young, wobbly lambs; the tired ewe with babies; the injured ram, frail and broken? What an image. Reminds me of what meekness really means. Not weakness, but strength under control, power managed with grace.

Jesus gathers His lambs, lifts them with tenderness and tucks them close to His bosom. This GOD who comes with a strong hand reaches for me with gentle love. And He carries me. Can anything make me feel more precious than that?