All throughout the Word of God there are many analogies made about a sheep and the shepherd.And one truth seems to emerge in every situation,and that is that sheep and shepherd cannot exist apart from one another.They need one another.So much so that their lives depend upon one another.shepherd-carrying-sheep1

A few days ago I sat in a funeral home along with many others who had come to pay their last respects to one of the lambs that had seemingly wandered off into the wilderness.

I listened intently to the Pastor’s words as he tried to say something that would bring comfort to a grieving family,but my mind began to think about something Jesus had said about sheep.

10“Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven.11 For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.12“What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying?13 And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray.14 Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.                        Matthew 18:10-14 NKJV

We in the church are so quick to give up on one another.We seem to have the attitude that we cannot be bothered by the struggles of others.Our time is too precious.After all,we all have our own battles don’t we?

How have we become so self serving,so callous to the the cries of the lonely and desperate?How is it that our ears have become deaf to the pleas of the addicted and abused?Our eyes blind to the sight of the sin ravaged lives of those around us?

Do you know of a “lost sheep”,one that has strayed from the Shepherd?

Perhaps you’ve noticed that a certain seat has been empty more than normal.Or maybe someone you used to talk with on Sunday morning’s hasn’t been around in a while.

Sometimes we get so busy with our own lives that we don’t even notice that one of God’s lambs has gone missing.

Until it’s too late.The wolf has attacked and yet another lamb is killed.And we’re left to ponder what went wrong.

For far too long the devil has lied to us and told us that it’s the Pastor’s job,or the job of a staff person to go after someone who may be straying.
The truth however is that it is the responsibility of every Christian who knows of someone who is struggling to do everything in their power to lead them back to the safety of the flock.This is what Jesus meant when he said we were to leave the ninety nine and go after that one who had wandered.
Why does the one matter? Because that one matters to God.He said it was not the will of the Father that even one of these lambs would be lost.
If the one lost sheep is that important to God,how important should they be to us?
How I long for those days of my past when those who aligned themselves with Christ did so in real,tangible ways.When love was actually demonstrated.When a handshake or a promise actually meant something.When an “I love you”was something that originated in the heart and not the lips.
When Christ,not self,was the object of our service.
How many more lambs will wander off before we say “enough”,and leave the ninety and nine to pursue them?
Something to think about on this rainy Saturday afternoon.