So [Jesus] told them this parable: “which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.
Luke 15:3-7 (NRSV)
Some forms of technology integrate themselves into our lives so suddenly it’s hard to remember that they are still incredibly new. As an example, if you are like me and drive to unfamiliar places frequently, it’s second nature to pull up Google Maps before you even pull out of the driveway. We can almost always trust in these tools, too. With a reliable car charger and an unlimited data plan you just might conceivably never get lost again.
Yet there are also times when we get the wrong address, or when we are driving in a city and the tall buildings are blocking a good signal, or some other obstacle appears and we need to rely on rusty skills to find our way. Technology can’t always save us. Sometimes we need to rely on our own skills. Sometimes we even need to stop and ask someone else for help. As disciples of Jesus Christ, we have to remind ourselves that there will be times we will need to find our way, and there will be other times where we need to remember that we were, actually, already found.
Jesus teaching of a shepherd who left the ninety-nine to find the one is simultaneously both insane and reckless and also completely relatable. We will push past all the other t-shirts in the drawer to find the one we want, getting frustrated when it doesn’t turn up. We will pick through a bag of jelly beans, ignoring all the tasty flavors to find our favorites (black licorice here). We will ignore all the people who love, trust, and care for us and focus entirely on the one person we can’t convince to like us like we like them. We will turn to all sorts of other places for healing and wholeness rather than surrendering our fears and doubts to God in prayer and remembering who we already are.
Wherever your path takes you today and every day – don’t get lost. Don’t forget the God who sought you out and brought you homes, and don’t stop looking around for others in need of being found, too.
Grace and Peace,