The Truth About You
Today our lectionary passage comes to us the Gospel of Matthew---a passage that is a familiar one for many of us: The Parable of the Lost Sheep. It reads:
12 “What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? 13 And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. - Matthew 18:12-13I think that most of us probably remember this story in its simplest form, which goes something like this:
You and I are like the lost sheep in this story--we get lost from time to time. And when we get lost, the Good Shepherd will always come and find us.
But there's something more radical going on here in this story. Pay close attention to the areas I've highlighted as you read the passage again:
12 “What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? 13 And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. - Matthew 18:12-13
First of all, Jesus claims that in this scenario the Shepherd will leave 99 sheep unattended on the hillside in the wilderness to go find the one sheep that's missing.
That doesn't make a lot of sense. It made even less sense in Jesus' day than it does now. What if, while the Shepherd is away looking for the sheep, a wild animal comes and ravages the flock? Or thieves make away with them? What if the 99 sheep scatter and become lost, too?
There's too much at stake here, right? And yet, that's the image that Jesus paints regarding the radical, vulnerable love of God for us. This is how far God is willing to go in order seek those whom God loves, which means all of us who feel lost.
Yet, despite all of the evidence to the contrary, far too many Christians focus their messages to everyone outside of the Church on the importance of internalizing the information of Christianity, rather than its true message.
And the true message? God radically, vulnerably, sacrificially loves you. Period.
I read an amazing quote from author and speaker Bob Goff recently he said:
People need love and acceptance a lot more than they need advice.May you embrace the truth about you today and every day going forward. God will go to the farthest lengths possible and then beyond what's possible if need be in order to show God's love to you.
Let this knowledge wash over you, and be filled with hope.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.