The jungle was hot and wet with darkness falling, the group of men had been dropped off from a helicopter. Shortly after the firefight started. Will was the newest of the group, in country for two days and 18 years old. In the battle he got separated from them, He could be dead, wounded or captured, but they searched for him anyway. After a couple of hours, they found him, wounded and shook up but alive, they carried him to the LZ where the chopper came and picked them up. Relief and smiles came over everyone as they landed, they all made it back, it was a good day.
This is the story of the lost sheep from Matthew 18:10-14
This parable is given in the context of a discussion about who is the greatest or most important of them. Jesus’ response was to call the little child to Himself and proclaim the child to be the most important, then He gives this parable.
The owner rejoices not because this sheep is more important than the others, he rejoices because now they are all safe. Just as Will’s patrol did not rejoice because Will was more important, the rejoice because they all made it home safe that day.
2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”
The mission, the goal, is to get us all home safe. No one is insignificant. Everyone matters. If any of you are lost, we will all come looking. This is supposed to be the churches mission. Not just the pastor’s mission but everyone’s mission. Yet how many are lost with no one looking for them. How many have left the church without being noticed, and searched for?
Sam was in rough shape when they found her living in a culvert. Cloths dirty and rotting, addicted to drugs, and starving. Many people had seen her but never stopped, some people were frightened of her. Yet this boy on a bike saw her and went and got his parents. Now they were putting her in their car. It was the start of a long road of getting clean and healthy. But this family stuck with her, celebrated her success and when she fell, they carried her. Sam was safe, Sam was found, and one more child of God was going to make it home.
The mission, the goal, is not that we all are perfect or righteous and holy, the mission is that we all make it out alive, that we all return home to God safe. Maybe beaten, maybe bloody and wounded, but we make it back. The rejoicing is not because of a person’s importance, it’s because one more has made it home safe.
This is the parable of the lost sheep. Stop trying to measure your importance and start looking for the wounded and lost, and when you find them carry them home to Jesus.
The mission, the goal, is that we all make it safely home.