12 What do you think? If someone had one hundred sheep and one of them wandered off, wouldn’t he leave the ninety-nine on the hillsides and go in search for the one that wandered off? 13 If he finds it, I assure you that he is happier about having that one sheep than about the ninety-nine who didn’t wander off. 14 In the same way, my Father who is in heaven doesn’t want to lose one of these little ones.
15 I don’t call you servants any longer, because servants don’t know what their master is doing. Instead, I call you friends, because everything I heard from my Father I have made known to you.
Buzz Lightyear: “To Al's Toy Barn... and beyond.” *
Infinity and beyond? Rescuing Woody took a trip to “Al’s Toy Barn.” Jesus came from the mysterious reaches of “infinity” to this planet on very real rescue mission. Probably echoing the image from Ezekiel 34:1-12, he told a story about a shepherd who lost one sheep from his flock. The shepherd was not at all unmoved by the loss. He dropped everything, searched until he found the lost sheep—and felt great joy when he found it. The story fit, because Jesus searched for more than just a sheep; he searched for people he called “friends.”
Lord Jesus, you have changed me from “lost sheep” to “friend.” Remind me each day what a privilege it is for me to be a friend of the king of the universe. Amen.
** Bruce Larson, The Preacher’s Commentary Series, Volume 26: Luke. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Inc. 1983, p. 235.
I can remember being about five-years-old at the City Museum in St. Louis. I was going down different slides and crawling through obstacles when I realized I had lost my grandma. Naturally, 5-year-old me freaked out. I ran towards where I thought she was, but she was nowhere to be found. I didn’t know what to do. I was too little to see over most people, I didn’t know where I was, and in a split second everything felt chaotic. I needed someone to find me.
I hate being lost in every sense of the word. Hate it. It’s scary, unpredictable, and hard. We see this in Toy Story 2 when Woody gets taken away from Andy. Woody has a tough time when he’s not with his friends. It’s easy to see that being lost is not fun.
Matthew 18 reminds us how far God will go to find us when we’re lost. It seems like God will go really far. He said he would leave his 99 sheep behind to go looking for one lost sheep. What? That’s crazy. And what makes it even more crazy is that we are so much more than sheep to God--we are friends.
We might not be lost in the City Museum, but maybe we’re lost in our job, or our friendships, or our mind. Maybe we feel so out of reach of God that there is no possible way he could find us. I feel that a lot. But no matter how far we’ve wandered, it’s comforting to know that God will go as far as possible to reach us--in the City Museum or otherwise.
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