Matthew 18:10-14 (NIV)

10″See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.  12″What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off ? 13And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off  .14In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost.

Luke 15:6 (NRSV)

The shepherd said, “Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.”

DEVOTION – Doug Ralls (Tennessee)

I don’t know about you, but when I think about the practical aspects of the parable of the lost sheep, I don’t understand it.  Why would the shepherd leave 99 sheep unprotected just to look for one that was lost?  Wouldn’t some of those 99 sheep wander off or even be attacked and killed by wild animals?  Going after one sheep is simply not a practical solution to the problem.  It seems to be a bad business decision.

But ultimately, I don’t think this parable is intended as a practical solution to an everyday problem.  I see it more as a description of the radical love that abounds in the kingdom of heaven.  God loves us with such reckless abandon that God will ignore practicality in order to find us and bring us home.  That’s astounding love.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: How will I respond to God’s radical love today?

PRAYER:  Dear God, we can’t fully understand your radical, unmerited love for us. We can only kneel in thankful awe and humility. Help us to be like children in your presence, and grant us the faith to be disciples who fully love you in work and deed. Amen.

PRAYER FOCUS: Those Who Feel Lost