What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.”Matthew 18: 12-14
A few weeks ago, I watched an episode of The Chosen that included the parable in the verses above. In a culture where herding sheep was certainly more common than today, the people could relate to the value of a lost sheep.
The story is no less powerful today because each one of us can relate to the idea of someone going astray. Others may find it easy to just let the wayward person go, but for those who love them… well, that is a different story.
Notice that the shepherd dropped everything to go and search for the lost sheep. Earlier today I heard from someone who is actively searching, looking for a way to reach the wayward one. And that is the way it is for us, isn’t it? When someone is lost, we are consumed every waking moment.
In the passage above, Jesus is specifically referring to the “little ones”:or those we are called to serve. Jesus values each one so much that he delivered a warning as well –
Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.Matthew 18: 5-6
Let’s be like the good shepherd who seeks and then rejoices when the lost is found!