Do you ever feel like you’re being left out? Do you ever feel that you’re being left behind while others move ahead?
This is a story that Jesus told about no one being left behind and lost...
Many people, including tax collectors and outcasts, came to listen to Jesus. Other people complained that these people were not good enough or kind enough to be welcomed by Jesus.
This is the story Jesus then told them: There was a shepherd who cared for his flock of one hundred sheep. All day long he would walk with them to new pastures and all night he would stay with them to protect them from wolves. He would count the sheep to ensure all of his flock were ok. “…96, 97, 98, 99, 100!” One day, after the shepherd had walked his sheep to a new pasture, he counted his sheep. “…96, 97, 98, 99… 99...” The shepherd counted again and again, but he was certain: there were only 99 sheep now with him.
What could he do? He had 99 of his flock to care for? However the shepherd knew one of his sheep was out on the fields, lost and alone. Quickly, he left the 99 sheep grazing in the new pasture and began to search for the one lost sheep. He searched high and low, near and far.
Suddenly, in the distance, he heard a mournful bleating sound, a sound that he instantly recognised. Hurrying towards the sound, he noticed a movement in some brambles – the sheep was caught and in the thorns and could not escape.The shepherd could tell he was exhausted from trying to pull himself free.
Tenderly, the shepherd released the sheep and lifted the tired creature onto his shoulders, before carrying him all the way back to the other sheep. As he returned, he called to all his friends,“Rejoice! For one of my flock was lost but now has been found!"
I wonder what this story might tell us about being left out or left behind. Perhaps you feel like you’re stuck in the brambles and lost. Perhaps you’ve noticed that someone is being left out and needs some help.
I wonder, who is the shepherd for you? Is the shepherd a friend, who has helped you to not be left out? Could the shepherd be you, looking out for someone else?
If you would like you can say this prayer,
Dear God, Thank you for those who look out for and care for us. Help us to look after other people who are feeling lost. Thank you that, no matter what, you are with us and will find us.