The Lost Sheep
My dad used to love to tell a story. Every Sunday during the summer when he would come to preach to the children at Word of Life Ranch, his cat, horse, and sheep story was one of the kids’ favorites.
“We had a cat when I was kid on my dad’s farm in New Jersey. It was wild, but a bad mouser, and my mom wanted us to get rid of it so dad put it into a gunnysack and said ‘Come on.’ We drove miles away from our farm and dad let the cat out of the bag. We went on to town, did some grocery shopping, and then went home. When we arrived, there was that cat purring on our front porch.” My dad would stop at this point and then emphasize. “It’s hard to lose a cat.” Then he told his horse story. “My father wanted me to learn to ride, and he felt we needed a horse on the farm. We got one, but one day in the morning when I went out to feed it, the horse was gone. I was heart-broken. We looked all over the county for that horse but came up dry. Dad kept telling me, ‘Don’t worry about the horse. He’ll be back!’ He was right. A month later the horse not only came home, but also brought another horse with him, and eleven months later we had another little horse. It’s hard to lose a horse, but it’s not hard to lose a sheep.” Dad would then remind the kids about the sheep up in the petting zoo, and when they get out of their pen, they don’t find their way back home. They wander and wander.
This was dad’s springboard into Isaiah 53:6
“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
He would explain to the kids clearly and simply how all of us have wandered like sheep, but Jesus is the Good Shepherd who came to find us. He died so that He could forgive our wandering. Then he challenged the kids to trust Jesus and believe that His death on the cross and His resurrection could give them a life that would last forever as one of God’s kids. Every Sunday scores of kids responded.
The poet closed the last section of Psalm 119 using the Taw, the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet, to cry out to the LORD to come after him because he was straying like a lost sheep.
“I have wandered like a lost and perishing sheep. Seek Your servant for I have not forgotten Your commands. “ - Psalm 119:176
This psalmist hadn’t forgotten that Israel’s lawgiver had also promised a Prophet greater than himself (Deuteronomy 18:15). A prophet who would not only give God’s Law but would provide the sacrifice that would forgive all the times not only Israel, but all of us wander and disobey.
LORD, thanks for all the kids who received Christ because of dad faithfully telling the Story. Help me to do the same. Help me to never forget that You are seeking the lost. On this island where I’ve been teaching, a local pastor recently told a friend that he has to compete with the hundreds of gods who many islanders still believe control their lives. LORD, use the Momentum Outreach the Jeju Bible Institute has instigated to reach teens to go out and find many sheep who are still lost.
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