My daughter Bethany and I were playing with her puzzle. Each animal was placed in its correct space, and the appropriate noise made. But – oh dear – the sheep was missing! We had a lost sheep. 😦
We looked for it – emptied the toybox and searched the (messy) play table. But he was nowhere to be found. We soon lost interest and moved on to another toy.
Later, I was vacuuming the lounge. I swept my hand under the sofa to coax out any wayward dustmites, and there he was! The lost sheep had been found.
To be honest, Bethany and I weren’t that bothered that our sheep had gone missing. But in the Bible, Jesus tells of a shepherd that searches ceaselessly for his sheep when he loses one. He has 99 others to be getting on with, so he could be forgiven for giving up like we did. But he didn’t – he loved that naughty sheep too much to shrug his shoulders and forget.
We are like that lost sheep, before God chases us down and rescues us. The only real difference I guess, is that we, unlike the sheep, get to choose if we go back home with our shepherd where it’s safe; or if we want to stay out in the cold, dark night.
The Parable of the Wandering Sheep
10 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.
12 “What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? 13 And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. 14 In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.