Every time I take a trip to the next largest town over, I forget two reasons that I should leave a half hour early: traffic, and my sense of direction. Yesterday was no exception. I chewed on my lips and made my way through a big slice of humble pie as the sun beat down on my car’s best attempt at air conditioning in stop-and-go traffic. And then I made the wrong turn twice.
I happen to like sheep a lot, and so this next parable from Matthew 18 is special: the lost sheep. But looking at the context made me see it in a new light. The disciples were discussing who was the greatest. They asked Jesus for His opinion, and His focus points them back to the real goal: the Kingdom of Heaven. The greatest? Someone who is humble and dependent like a child.
He leads from there into the topic of temptation…anyone who causes one of the little ones following Jesus to stumble is better off tying a giant stone around their neck and jumping into the ocean than facing Him. It is that serious.
So what if your brother does stumble, does God really care about one person? This is where the sheep come in. Jesus said that it is like the owner of a hundred sheep leaving his 99 to go find the one that is lost. He cares that much. So if you see your brother sinning, call him out on it, invite him back into a right relationship.
“All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.”
So if you look up and have no idea where you are, Jesus will meet you where you are at. And if you see someone wandering lost, call them back.
God, I feel like I was lost all day long today. Thank You that You help us come back, change our focus, look to You. Thank You for teaching us to call others back to You. We really are like children, but it is hard for us to recognize that. Please help me to see how dependent I am on you. And thank You for searching me out. Amen.