Loved On His Shoulders
“And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.” (Luke 15:5,6 NIV)
Rarely do we intend to get lost. The map and GPS industries were designed so that people won’t get lost. Yet invariably, someone takes the wrong turn; wasn’t paying attention to the street signs or simply didn’t read the instructions properly. At some point, their surroundings don’t look familiar, or they get an eerie feeling that they are lost. The challenging thing about being lost isn’t just realizing that you don’t know where you are but the sad fact that you don’t know how to get back to where you intended to go.
Unfortunately, for that unnamed sheep, there was no GPS pointing the way back home. The blessing was that the Shepherd knew the sheep had value. I’m not sure how much sheep cost. I can only imagine they must be expensive, or at the very least, important! The fact that Jesus likened Himself to a shepherd that goes to find one lost sheep lets us know that they matter.
Yet, this parable’s focus isn’t the details of how the sheep was lost but the steps with which the Shepherd was willing to go to find it. No one cares why it was lost. No one asks what happened. Who let the gate open, or what was the reason that caused the sheep to go missing? No one asks that either.
The parable spends more time focusing on the excitement of the reunion. The call that was made to His friends. The party over the found sheep. But also how the sheep was found and carried back to the fold. It wasn’t on a leash dragged behind the Shepherd. Nor was it pushed by the Shepherd's rod ahead of the shepherd. The reunion prompted the shepherd to bend down, hoist the lost (and possibly scared) sheep on his shoulders. The Shepherd became a personal valet all the way home. No worries about pits or potholes in the ground. He was no longer having to bother looking for snakes or scorpions because the lost sheep is getting a “sheepyback” ride.
Do you know that He loves you enough to put you on his shoulders; to parade you around and let folks know that He found you. He still calls you His sheep. He carries you all the way home. And to think if He would do all that for a sheep, what won’t He do for you? Jesus reveals His love for us the most when we are lost.
“But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.” (Psalm 86:15 NIV)
- When were the times in your life where you felt lost?
- What relief comes from knowing the Shepherd searches for us rather than us looking for Him?