Passages #2

I’m doing a series on some of my favorite bible passages. Here’s one of them:

Luke 15:3 Then Jesus told them this parable: 4″Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? 5And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ 7I 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.”

I’ve preached on this passage so many times, in so many places, that my wife is afraid that people will think I have a thing for sheep. (Seriously.) But this passage is IT. This passage is why I now have a life worth living, and why I am going to Heaven instead of Hell. It’s all (and only) because God cares about lost sheep.

We take this passage for granted because we’re read it so much, but the story is really bizarre for so many reasons. Like, let me just point out one: A lost sheep is very easy to replace. I understand that on a typical sheep ranch today, a rancher will have about ten male rams who “service” about four thousand female sheep. (Oh to be a ram!) Each female will have only about a six-hour window of receptivity to mating, but that’s no problem for the ram who can perfectly sense when each particular lady friend will want him over for a night cap. The mating period will last only a couple of weeks, which means that each ram will “service” four or five hundred sheep in a two-week period. (After which he needs an ice pack!) — My point is, you lose a sheep, well, you wait till next Spring, you’ll have a bunch of babies running around. No big deal. A lost sheep can be replaced.

But not in Jesus’ story, and not for God. I learn here that even though I am a stupid, wandering sheep, I am also God’s treasure and when I wander off He will search for me “until He finds me.” God didn’t give it a good effort when He went searching for me, He didn’t quit till He found me. And I am eternally, ridiculously grateful.

What about you?