Then all the tax collectors and sinners drew near to Him to hear Him. And the Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” So He spoke this parable to them.
— Luke 15: 1–3
You may remember the story Jesus told. It was a story of a man who had 100 sheep, but he noticed that one was lost. He counted them again and, sure enough, he only had 99 safely in the fold. What should he do? How would the owner in Jesus’ parable respond?
He could have used the data he had to make a good case for doing nothing. He had a big flock of sheep. Ninety-nine of them were home where they were supposed to be. A 99 percent success rate seems pretty good. Plus, how in the world did the one get lost? Was he not paying attention? The lost one obviously had not followed directions and had wandered off to where he should not have been. The flock might even be better off without him.
But in this parable, the man had a heart for the sheep that was lost. He wanted it to be safely home in the fold, so, the man went after the lost sheep. When the man found the lost sheep he did not scold the sheep. The parable tells us there was great rejoicing because the lost had been found and brought home.
Aren’t you glad our God still pursues the lost? Aren’t you happy that when you were lost, he sought you out and saved you? That is cause for some rejoicing today!
God still pursues the lost. He has called us to be co-workers with him in reaching others (lost sheep) with the Gospel. Sometimes we lose site of this call. We can become so focused on the ones we have in the fold that we don’t think of the lost very often.
I heard a Christian speaker once say this: “The trouble with many churches today is that they have become keepers of the aquarium, and not fishers of men.” Ouch. That one hurts a little bit.
God still loves and pursues the lost. He wants his people to do the same.