Jesus told us a story about lost sheep. Here is His story:
A man owning a hundred sheep performed a head count and found that one of his sheep went missing. Looking everywhere, the shepherd went out of his way to trace its steps. After much effort he finally came across it. Profoundly relieved he carried the sheep home on his shoulders. As he went, He shared with all of his friends and family what had just happened, and everybody was glad to hear the good news.
I have always wondered about the ninety nine sheep that were left behind in search for the one that got lost. Hypothetically speaking, what if the sheep owner later returns to the camp to find out that his other sheep took off in the meantime? With ninety nine sheep scattered all over the place the crisis would have gone from bad to worse – or maybe not? Jesus did not specify a number. Perhaps the story of one lost sheep in all reality is the story of one hundred lost sheep.
Case in point: We crossed a threshold when we left the Garden of Eden a long time ago; ever since, whether consciously or subconsciously, we have striven to find our way back to Paradise. Unfortunately, there is a million ways we can get lost on the way, and this is where Jesus comes in. He is the Good Shepherd actively helping the lost – although He has a hard time finding certain strays that insist they are not lost.
Have you ever gone along for a ride and the driver of the car was overly confident? No asking for directions in the middle of a foggy night in a strange town … Still driving in circles hours later, we know this is a driver in denial.
Spiritually, we may just as well run in circles if we are in denial. And we will stay lost if we are too proud to ask for directions. From the Good Shepherd’s point of view, there is little or nothing He can do for sheep in denial. On the other hand, everything changes when we are humble enough to realize we need help; Jesus will personally come to our rescue. Wherever we are, He will pick us up and bring us home.
Note that Jesus carries His rescued sheep on His shoulders, close to His heart. Close to Jesus, we stop straying and start walking with purpose.