Thursday, June 11, 2009

Lost and Found Department

"If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the 99 on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off?" -- Matthew 18:12

Look at this picture of this sheep. You've got to love a cartoon sheep picture. Have you ever noticed that in your mind, when you think of a sheep, he's just standing there? He's never running or playing or up to much. If you're counting them to try to go to sleep, they might be jumping. But who counts sheep anymore? We've accepted that they just sort of stand around, growing wool. I imagine they're too hot to do much.

Bible people loved the sheep metaphor. Bible people were big sheep people. Huge sheep people. It was a comparison easy to grasp, back in the Biblical day.

I'm told that sometimes it’s easy in the Christian marathon for the sheep to fall into too much of a routine. In the monotony of life -- getting ready for work, for school, going to the grocery story, washing dishes, getting haircuts, growing wool -- zeal for sharing the Gospel or even living it can erode. Then you're taking a few days or weeks or even years “off.”

If that’s your experience, take it from a new guy on the block. Try remembering where you were when He found you.

Might not have been overly dramatic. Maybe the good shepherd found you when you were dog-paddling, looking for direction and dry land. Maybe your scars were minimal, your trip to the fold a short one.

But maybe the shepherd had to walk a long way, search a lot harder. I know people who turned to find Christ in a hotel room, on their hands and knees, scraping up with their palm the last of the cocaine they'd spilled on the cold bathroom floor.

I know people who were found when leaving divorce court. When leaving a job they thought they'd always have -- until they got fired or laid off.

I know people who were found after draining a vodka bottle. Crying over a mound of bad choices. Taking a left on Dead End after driving themselves -- and everyone around them -- crazy.

You wouldn't know it by knowing them today, but back when they were found, they were so lost that only the one true shepherd could have possibly carried them home.

So where were you when he found you? Tough day, I know. Bittersweet. The beginning of the climb. I remember coming home that night, after shaking hands with people who said they'd be praying for me, after hugs and tears and testimonies of hope. I remember walking in the door alone and saying, "Ok God. What now?"

And things started to get interesting.

Even though there was a mess of a life to clean up, at least it was the end of being lost. He didn’t find us to lose us. We know that.

So if you're going too fast or feel your walk is going too slow -- if you've forgotten daily to really pray and to really read the Word and to spend time in community with believers, with some other sheep, talking about the shepherd -- get back over there close. Close to the guy who found you. Get back over there with the fold.

I remember where He found me; I just don’t know where He’s taking me. I don’t even know where I am much of the time.

But I know where He is.