If you have ever been lost, you know the feeling – one minute you are fine and the next you realize you have no idea where you are or how to get back. The Bible uses the metaphor of being lost to help us to understand what it is like to be far from God.
If you are a follower of Christ, you already have a story of being found. What parts of you are still lost? What parts of your heart and mind are still walking in circles trying to find their way home?
The good news is that we have a Shepherd who is searching right now. Are you ready to let him place you on his shoulders and carry you home?
Consider Luke 15:1-10:
Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?
And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.
“Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
The first thing we are tempted to do when we get lost is panic which leads to frantic thoughts and actions. Do any parts of your life feel frantic to you right now? Name them and ask God to bring his rest into those areas.
On this day, two groups of people have surrounded Jesus, sinners and Pharisees – rule keepers and rule breakers. Which group do you most identify with? Has it always been this way?
Jesus didn’t have a microphone to hold or clip to his lapel. So, the people had to gather close in order to hear him. Take a moment today to move a little closer to Jesus. Maybe you’ve been sitting close enough to barely hear but you’re now ready to move in closer. What fears do you have about sitting close? What about it sounds inviting?
The Pharisees were confused by Jesus. He claimed to be sent from God and yet spent time with “sinners”. What confuses you about Jesus?
Think about a time when you were lost. Maybe you were driving in a new city, walking in the woods or learning a new task. What thoughts did you have? What emotions did you experience? Is there any part of you that feels lost now?
What did the shepherd risk in order to find the lost sheep? What does this tell you about the shepherd? How would you like to respond to him?
How would you describe the shepherd’s response to finding the lost sheep? Is this the response you were expecting? Imagine being the sheep high up on the shepherd’s shoulders. How does it feel to be a part of the celebration?
The featured image is entitled “The Lost Drachma” by James Tissot.