...“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? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 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.’ 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.
Have you ever been a people watcher? Have you ever just stopped to look around you when you are in a crowd, at a shopping mall, airport, or some event? Have you ever just taken the time to watch people?
Watching people can be amusing sometimes, as people do funny things. They dress differently, walk differently or talk differently. Some people seem to be really happy, indifferent or even sad. Some people seem to be leaders. Some people seem to be followers. Some people appear to be lost, walking around and not knowing which way to go.
Some people rely on signs and maps to show them the way. Almost everyone has a cell phone attached to their hand or ear. Almost everyone appears to be in a rush with somewhere to go or a deadline to meet.
When you were people watching, did you ever wonder what was going on in the lives of the people you see? Did you wonder about their job, their home, their family? Where were they going?
But what about the lost ones? Did you notice that the lost people look different. They appear fearful, sad and lonely. They appear distraught and stressed, as if they don't know where to turn.
Jesus tells us a parable in Luke 15: 4-7. He tells us about leaving the ninety-nine and going after the one lost sheep.
Let us think for a moment that we are called by Our Father in Heaven to watch over His flock and this is what happens:
AS I WAS CALLED TO WATCH OVER THE SHEEP,
I WONDERED WHAT I WOULD SEE.
SOME WERE GRAZING GRACIOUSLY -
THANKFUL FOR ALL THEY HAD TO EAT.
THEY STEPPED ASIDE FOR OTHERS -
TO SHARE SOME OF THEIR FOOD.
STILL OTHERS STOOD THEIR GROUND -
SEEMINGLY VERY RUDE.
THEY DID NOT BUDGE A SINGLE INCH -
FOR THEY WANTED WHAT WAS THEIRS.
THAT GRASS WAS MEANT JUST FOR THEM -
IT WASN’T MEANT TO SHARE.
THERE WERE SHEEP WHO SEEMED TO FOLLOW -
THE MAJORITY OF THE GROUP.
WHEREVER THE HERD WAS GOING --
THEY WOULD GO THERE, TOO.
AND THEN I SAW THE THIRSTY SHEEP -
THE GRASS WAS NOT ENOUGH -
TO QUENCH THE THIRST THEY WERE FEELING.
THEY NEEDED MORE TO DRINK.
THE SHEPHERD SAW THE LONELY SHEEP -
BUT DID NOT DO A THING.
HE WAS MUCH TOO BUSY
WITH THE HERD -
AND ALL HIS TASKS
THE BUSY DAY WOULD BRING.
THE LONELY SHEEP WERE LOST -
AND DID NOT MEAN A THING.
THEY WEREN’T PART OF THE GROUP -
WOULD ANYONE REALLY KNOW?
WHAT COULD IT HURT -
TO JUST LET THESE LOST ONES GO?
THE WATER HOLE WAS NOT FAR -
WITH AMPLE DRINK FOR ALL.
BUT THE SHEPHERD DID NOT LEAD THEM -
FOR FEAR THAT HE WOULD FALL.
IT WAS AN UPHILL BATTLE -
TO LEAD THE LOST ONES THERE,
FOR THEY NEVER KNEW THE PATH -
AND OFTEN STUMBLED HERE OR THERE.
THEIR THIRST WAS SO APPARENT -
AND THE PATH -
YES IT WAS HARD .
BUT THEY NEEDED THE PATIENCE OF THEIR SHEPHERD -
THE ONE SENT THERE TO GUARD.
I TURNED MY EAR AND HEARD THEIR CRY -
MY HEART COULD FEEL THEIR PAIN.
I CAUGHT A GLIMPSE OF ONE SHEEP’S EYE -
AND THERE I FELT HIS FEAR.
IF ONLY HE KNEW THE WATER
HE THIRSTED FOR -
WAS VERY, VERY NEAR.
BUT HOW COULD ALL THE LOST SHEEP KNOW?
NO ONE WOULD LEAD THEM THERE.
AS I STOOD WATCHING -
I REALIZED THE MEANING OF IT ALL.
IF ONLY THE SHEPHERD GUARDING THEM -
WERE NOT AFRAID TO FALL.
GOD SENT ME HERE TO WATCH THE SHEEP -
AND GAVE ME EYES TO SEE.
HOW WONDROUS IT WOULD BE -
IF I WOULD GIVE THESE SHEEP A DRINK?
SO I GRABBED A STAFF
AND FOLLOWED -
THE UPHILL PATH.
THEY ARRIVED AT THE WATERING HOLE -
DIRTY AND IN DESPAIR .
BUT AS THEY DRANK THE WATER -
I SAW A MIRACULOUS
CLEANSING IN THE AIR!
THE SHEEPS’ EYES BEGAN TO SHINE -
WITH A LIGHT REFLECTED FROM THE SON!
AND THEIR DIRTY COATS WERE REFRESHED -
AS IF EACH WORE A BRAND NEW ONE!
WHEN ALL HAD A FINAL DRINK -
I LED THEM ALL AWAY.
BUT THEY KNEW WHERE THEY WERE GOING -
AND DID NOT STUMBLE ALONG THE WAY.
THE DOWNHILL PATH WAS VERY STEEP -
BUT THEIR STEPS REMAINED IN SYNCH -
FOR THEY WERE NO LONGER LOST.
WHAT WOULD THEIR SHEPHERD THINK?
THEY JOINED IN THE HERD -
AS THE SHEPHERD COUNTED -
THE NUMBERS OF HIS FLOCK .
DID HE RECOGNIZE THE CHANGE IN THEM …
OR JUST THE HOURS ON THE CLOCK?
DID HE EVEN KNOW THEY HAD GONE -
UP THAT STEEP HILL TO FIND -
WHAT THEY HAD SO LONG THIRSTED FOR ?
IT WASN’T JUST A DRINK -
BUT A GRACE-FILLED PEACE OF MIND.
WRITTEN BY : P. HOWARD RHOADS
How awesome it is to know that God, our Father in Heaven calls us to watch over each other, to be fishers of men, to go after the lost and lead them to a relationship with Him.
How awesome it is to know that God, our Father in Heaven has instilled into each of us the desire to feed His flock with His wonderful Word, His Wisdom, His Love and His Grace.
My prayer for today is that no matter where we are in our daily routine, we will take the time to search for and feed His sheep. Blessings in His Glorious Name, Amen.