How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?
This scripture is one that we all can agree shows the heart of the gospel. We recite it, we sing about it because it sounds good just thinking about the fact that God would leave everything behind to go restore that one sheep that is lost.
However, have you ever stopped to consider the state and disposition of that one that is being sought after while he is out there and after he is found? Just imagine the turmoil that sheep is going through, not to mention the thought wars; “how did I get here?” “what am I doing?” “can I find my way back home?” “ will they accept me if I returned?” What we don’t realize is that many times, these thoughts and fears alone are enough to cause someone to be afraid to return after falling, because of the fear of rejection and judgement.
But the good Shepherd knows better! God knows that who is forgiven much loves much (Luke 7:47). He knows that by going after that 1 sheep and retrieving him, that one would come back with a zeal and love so great. He understands forgiveness and mercy and will want everyone around them to experience what they experienced.
So the next time you see someone going out of the way, let’s not be quick to cast judgement or write them off. But let us, like our Father, go after them with love, truth and patience. Let that backslider know that they are safe to come back to their Father’s house because they will be received with open arms. Let that unsaved man know that it matters not how far they think they are, they are never too far for God to reach. His love stretches far and wide, and it is roaming the earth seeking whomever will embrace it.
As we consider the “1’s” in our lives, let us run after them in prayer and deed.
I love you all.