Lost Sheep

Have you ever been lost, and I mean REALLY lost? Have you ever known where you were but didn’t know where you were going? That would seem to be almost impossible with all the technology we have at our fingertips, but it can still happen, because in spite of having the best technology, if that technology is lost, you are lost.

Sheep don’t carry GPS units, and they DON’T know their way home, that is, unless their shepherd is there to lead and guide them. We can be much the same way if we lose our bearings.

A few years ago, I went to see my brother and his wife. I had been there before and I thought I knew my way around, but I didn’t. I even entered their address in my GPS, but it was stumped too, because whoever laid out the roads in their mountainside community must have been drunk. The roads ran every which way, and streets started and stopped, and then restarted somewhere else. After driving around for a bit, I stopped, and called my brother, my shepherd, the person who was most familiar with the area. It took him all of five minutes to find me, and I was less than half a mile from their home. He led me home. I had been a lost “sheep” in need of a shepherd.

A few months ago, I got a late-night call from another lost “sheep“. My friend and neighbor had gone out partying with some of her friends. Yes, there was alcohol involved, but she also took a pain-pill. Alcohol and pain-pills can have strange effects on some people. BTW, she was less than four miles from home the whole time. The combination of the alcohol and the medication both fogged her mind and blurred her vision. As she was leaving the party, she took a wrong turn, and suddenly everything was unfamiliar. Thankfully she had my number in her speed-dial. As she drove, she started naming off landmarks that were familiar to me, so I had her pull off of the road in a safe place. It only took me a few minutes to find her, and then I led her home. She was a lost “sheep” and she knew to call a shepherd, someone who could lead her home.

The lost sheep…
15 Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. 2 And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”

3 So he told them this parable: 4 “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? 5 And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ 7 Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. (Luke 15:1-7)

Jesus had attracted a crowd, again, and it was a crowd of the “wrong-sort” of people, sinners. The Pharisees liked nothing better than to strut around like Banty-roosters with their noses in the air, all the better to look down their noses at those sorry “sinners“, and to complain to and about Jesus. Jesus, as he often did, told a parable.

Imagine with me, if you will, that not only was this poor sheep very lost, but he was also the only BLACK sheep among a herd of all-white sheep. That lends even more weight to “Who’s your daddy?“. He didn’t fit in. He was a misfit. When you looked at the herd, he stood out like a sore-thumb. No, this is NOT a story or commentary about race. Sheep are sheep, and people are people.

I am very much the “black sheep” in my church. I am a misfit. I have had a rough life, and I am more than a bit rough around the edges. I also hang out with the “wrong” crowd, people who Jesus would have welcomed with open arms. They are the people whom God has called me to minister to. Ministry in the ditches isn’t always pretty, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. If I don’t love them, who will?

Digressing for a moment… One of my blogger-friends recently had a gall-bladder attack and ultimately had to have her gall-bladder removed. She is a male-to-female trans-sexual. Some of my conservative Christian friends might say “It served HIM right” and ask “Did HE register in the hospital under HIS real name?“. It is not for me or them to judge her, but I do have a responsibility to love her. She is doing well. Thank you Lord! She is a “lost sheep” and it is my responsibility to point her to the Good Shepherd.

The Good Shepherd…
11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. (John 10:11)

My brother was the right shepherd when I needed him, and I was the right shepherd when my friend needed me, but neither of us is the Good Shepherd. Jesus is the Good Shepherd, and we are merely deputy-shepherds. It is our job to point lost sheep to the Good Shepherd, to Jesus, because HE is the only one who can really take them Home.

How about you?
Do you have a Shepherd? Do you need a Shepherd? If Jesus isn’t your Shepherd, He would love to become your Shepherd. He is still in the business of finding and rescuing lost sheep, so if you are lost and in need of a Shepherd, call upon Him. He is never too busy for you.

In Christ,
Steve

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