Thoughts: Which one of you, with one lost sheep out of 100, leaves the 99 other ones and chases down the single one that wandered away, and doesn't come back until you have found him? Nobody. No one does this.What about when you find a lost penny? We especially don’t call friends and neighbors together for a party only to spend more money feeding and entertaining them than what you found was worth. I mean why bother looking for the coin at all, if you’re just going to blow more money anyway? It’s insanity. Nobody does this. Except Jesus. Jesus does this. Jesus leaves the 99 to search for the lost. Jesus sweeps the house and then throws a party when the lost are found. It’s totally and thoroughly insane. And, that’s why the Gospel is such Good News. When a soul is lost, the soul is missed, longed after, and not only worth the search party, but worth the celebration when the soul is brought back into the family. And, of course, this story cuts two ways. When I read this, I can’t help reading myself into the story as the sheep, as the coin. The lost one. The sheep that's wandered too far. The coin that slipped out of the pocket and into the deep cushions of the couch.
But there is Good News! Our God is the God of the lost, and the God who celebrates when the lost are found. Jesus is the Savior who “welcomes sinners and eats with them.” This is something for us to celebrate. Something for us to be excited about. Something for us to get others excited about. No—the church isn’t meant for us to stand by and watch the lost be lost. No, the followers of Jesus are the ones who follow Jesus. And not just to the cross. But to the field and the valley and the mountains, looking through the fluff for a well-loved and well-lost sheep. We’re the ones who are to be pulling the world’s refrigerator out from the wall or moving the couch cushions to find the long-lost treasures underneath that are so to precious to God. No matter how far it may be out of our way, or how dirty it is in the crevices of our lives. We are called to follow Jesus and leave the 99 to chase the 1 with him. Every time.
Discussion: Who do you most often connect to in this scripture? The Shepard? The Sheep? The Coin? How can you chase the lost sheep and coins with Jesus in your life daily? Is that something you already do or is it out of your comfort zone?
Activity: Be those people this week. Someone you know, whether they are in your family, your friendship circle, or a coworker, is a lost sheep or coin. Maybe they don't know it. Or maybe they do and they don't know where to begin. Be the person that eats with them this week. Literally or figuratively. Leave the comfortable 99 to go find that one.
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