Good morning! I remember as a child how difficult it was for me to share anything. Especially, candy or potato chips when there were only a few left. It would never fail, I would be down to the last two or three pieces of candy or chips and someone would ask for the second to last one or even the very last chip. Of course, my fingers are filled with chocolate, or sugar, or the nice powder from eating the chips and my mouth was watering in anticipation of that last bite. It did not matter if I had eaten 99% of the bag of candy or chips, the last bite or the last chip was mine, and I wanted it sometimes more than I wanted the first bite. Can you relate? I know this is a bit of a stretch from the scripture we will read today, but you will understand as we read about Jesus’ encounter and perspective.
Bible Verse – Matthew 18:12-14 NLT
12 “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them wanders away, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others on the hills and go out to search for the one that is lost? 13 And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he will rejoice over it more than over the ninety-nine that didn’t wander away! 14 In the same way, it is not my heavenly Father’s will that even one of these little ones should perish.”
This week we read about the importance of child like faith, humility and spirit; welcoming a child or children to draw near to God without pushing them away or causing them to sin and finally yesterday, Jesus warned us not to look down on the children – that children are protected, “that even their angels are always in the presence of my Heavenly Father.” v.10
In the verses today, Jesus is the man who has the hundred sheep. In this illustration we are all sheep. Jesus will leave the ninety-nine sheep on the hills (not in the valley) and go out and search for the one that is lost. Jesus’ desires/rejoices over the last one more, than over the ninety-nine that didn’t wander away. Does that mean he loves the ninety-nine any less? The answer is, no. He loves us all. He doesn’t want any of his children/sheep to perish.
So here are my questions for you:
- Will you allow Jesus to use you?
- Will you go after the ‘one’ who is lost and bring them back to the fold or will you keep your relationship with Jesus to yourself?
Brothers and sisters, may I challenge you today to share the gospel message with the one (those who have wandered/strayed away) and continue to encourage the ninety-nine.
Father God, thank you for your message today. Lord, thank you for the demonstration of your love and faithfulness toward us. Lord, thank you for leaving the ninety-nine and for coming for us. Lord, we didn’t deserve it, we don’t deserve it, yet you came for us because you love us. Thank you for your unfailing love. Lord, continue to equip us to seek the lost, least and the last. Lord, help us not to harbor resentment against those who have decided to wander off like sheep who have gone astray. Help us to understand our purpose in the midst of confusion, chaos and times we want to wish on others what we believe they deserve. Lord, please don’t give us what we deserve. Forgive us Lord for falling short of obedience to you. Lord, call us back to you. Draw us near. Give us ears to hear and understand your truth above the world’s truth. Teach us not to settle for the world’s acceptance, but to walk in the acceptance that you freely give. Lord, we accept you as the Lord and Savior of our lives today, we surrender ourselves and our agenda to you. Lead us, Lord. In the name of Jesus, amen!
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