Friday, 3 August 2018

Over one sinner

What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance. – Luke 15.4-7

I spent a good part of my life in a Christian culture that placed a huge focus on the many. We talked about ‘the world’s largest Sunday School’ and recorded church’s success by how big they were or how may baptisms had occurred. If churches (in our circle) were big it was proof of how good the church was or how God was blessing.

I realise that we read of 3000 saved and joining the church at the very start, but after that we mostly read about individuals getting saved. That reminds us that God cares about the crowds, but He also cares about the ones.

Jesus uses the picture of a shepherd with 100 sheep here. As he gathers them in for night he counts them…96, 97, 98, 99… Hold on, there’s only 99 sheep here. He goes back and counts them – sure enough, there is one missing.

It would be easy to say ‘well, I have almost all of them, all but one. I’ll sort him out tomorrow.’ But no, the shepherd cared for the one sheep that was missing. So he made sure that the 99 were safe and he went back out to find the one sheep that was lost.

He comes back after a while and says ‘rejoice with me! I have found my sheep which was lost!’

The spiritual application is clear – ‘and so there is joy in the presence of angels over one sinner who comes to repentance.’

I need this reminder. Every single person I meet is important to God. There is great joy in heaven when every single one repents and turns to Him for salvation. God sent Philip into the desert to reach one seeking man from Ethiopia. Those ones who God loves may the ones to turn their worlds around for Him.

Take time for the one today.

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