“Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven. For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost. “What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying? And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray. Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish. Reference Matthew 18:10-14 NKJV
Some would argue that it’s not right for the shepherd to leave his flock to chase after one that strayed. When you look how the sheep act, they usually will stick together and not wonder off, they feel safe in a group.
The Shepherd knows that He can leave His Flock unattended for a short period, to go after the one who wondered off. He Knows, that in a sense, the sheep will keep each other in line. He Knows that they will feel safe being together.
That should be an encouragement to each of us. God cares for each one of us. Jesus is saying here that if even one of us goes astray, He will pursue us. He wants each of us to be part of His Family. He wants to keep us safe.
When preparing to go visit Mario, I asked Our Lord if I was doing the right thing. Was the Lead Pastor supposed to leave the fellowship behind to go and visit one person on a Sunday? His answer was this passage.
I felt reassured that I was doing the right thing. We had a leadership crew in place, that could handle taking care of services in my absence. It was important to try to make this connection, even though it didn’t happen, because Mario knew me but he didn’t know others. We needed to make sure he knew he would have the encouragement and discipleship he needed with us, when he got out.
It can be easy for us to get into a mentality of sticking to a group, that we overlook that one who is hurting. We are to reach out, even if it means to step outside of our comfort ability. After all, someone did that for us.
Jesus paid it all on the Cross when He didn’t have to. Shouldn’t we be willing to lead others to that as well?