“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?” ~Luke 15:4
Today’s verse is often referred to as “The Parable of the Lost Sheep.” In the reading of the pamphlet the author also tells us that is has also be referred to as “The Parable of the Incomplete Flock.” In this case, both titles are appropriate, sheep are flock animals and strongly gregarious; their natural inclination to follow a leader to new pastures; all sheep have a tendency to congregate close to other members of a flock; sheep can become stressed when separated from their flock members; sheep can recognize individual human and ovine faces, and remember them for years; Sheep have good hearing, and are sensitive to noise when being handled; sheep have horizontal slit-shaped pupils, with excellent peripheral vision; with visual fields of about 270° to 320°, and sheep can see behind themselves without turning their heads. Now you probably have gained more knowledge and insights about sheep you never intended to learn! You’re welcome!
The Bible makes references to sheep and shepherds as an example of believers and God. As a shepherd would leave his flock to go find the one missing sheep, God pursues His children, the believers. When we lose our way God opens pathways for our return.
John 10:11, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”
John 10:14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—“
I also believe the sheep and shepherd example can be used to explain the relationship of church members (sheep) with the pastor of the church (shepherd) to show the relationship and bond that is between a pastor and their parishioners. It is not the sole responsibility of the pastor to ensure all members of the congregation are all flocked together, it is everyone’s responsibility. The church members form a family and provide support, guidance, care and prayers for one another. This may look different depending upon your individual church’s and its functionality but I would hope it is similar. As believers, we have a responsibility to seek out the lost or missing people of our flocks. We all have been blessed with unique spiritual gifts, whatever yours may be use it for God’s glory. Some people are great at sending cards or making phone calls, some possess great communication skills and can make others feel at ease, some have patience and compassion to listen when people need to be heard, this is a never-ending list I encourage you to use your gifts to spread the love of Jesus with anyone and everyone.
My church, my church family blesses me every single day. There are members that text me with words of encouragement, my input is requested for new initiatives and programs, I have participated in leading discussions and teaching a bible studies and in return I will seek out individuals who need encouragement, support or just to listen to them talk. It is a reciprocal relationship of give and take and to pass it on, never hold onto a blessing, there’s so much more joy in the process of continuing a blessing, keeping it alive in a sense.
The author poses this question? How has your faith community been strengthened by someone who was new to the flock?
There is much joy with new members coming into a community, it’s refreshing to hear new ideas and a sense of renewal within a group when someone new offers a different point of view or sees situations through a new lens.
Be aware of your fellow flock members and if one is missing tell the shepherd and in some cases you might assume the shepherd role to help find the one missing that has strayed away, to bring them home.
Breath Prayer: Thank you God, The Good Shepherd, help me to seek the lost. ~Amen.
~Blessings and Peace~