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.
If you have accepted the case that Jesus is our Shepherd and we are His sheep, if the traits of sheep are continually used to describe the children of God, if, therefore, people desiring entry to heaven should aspire to act like sheep, then perhaps we need to reconsider some of the reasons sheep wander away.*
1) They lose their focus on God's narrow path and frivolously follow a strange scent. With no ill intention, they get distracted by foolishness or naivety.
2) They start baaa-baaa-ing over the quality of the grass and seek greener pastures. Surely, they'll find a better job, car, spouse, church or city bringing more fulfillment.
3) They follow the wrong shepherd or some bossy sheep without knowing God's not in them. Lacking the discernment found in His Word, their ears aren't tuned to the Great Shepherd's Voice.
Actors, models and talent for Christ: Are you sheep or media shepherds? Both! You are sheep in the flock of Jesus, but you're also media shepherds: understudies to the Great Shepherd. So make sure you recognize His Tone and train your mouth to sing harmony.
Why does God cheer for one sheep's return? Perhaps it's like The Prodigal Son. True repentance is a wondrous thing.
To Be Continued...
* Sermon preached in 1867: The Straying Sheep and the Sin-Bearing Shepherd by J.C. Philpot, London: http://www.gracegems.org/straying_sheep.htm
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Bad Ideas series.