Lost Sheep

by DanWolgemuth on October 30, 2009

Little Bo Peep

Little Bo Peep has lost her sheep,
And can’t tell where to find them.
Leave them alone, and they’ll come home
Wagging their tails behind them.

Nursery rhymes have become a mainstay of our reading resources for Malia, our 22- month-old granddaughter. Today, as she listened intently to the occupational challenges that Bo Peep faced, I listened intently to the approach that this fictional shepherd took to retrieve her sheep.

“Leave them alone, and they’ll come home…”

Really. Lost sheep, wandering, separated and distant will eventually drift back home? Not only will they come prancing home, but their tails will be wagging in delight. I’m not sure that this concept has been appropriately and accurately vetted. Has an audit been performed on the veracity of this claim?

Jesus might take issue with this strategy. He might argue that lost sheep will never find their way home. That separated and distant they become vulnerable. Unlike Bo Peep, Jesus drops everything to pursue. He knows that lost sheep become an easy target… and that a pursuing, focused, and passionate shepherd is the only rescuer.

What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. ~ Luke 15:4-5 (ESV)

Lost sheep… vs… lost sheep.
Leave them alone… vs… pursue at all cost.
They’ll come home… vs… go after the one that is lost.
Wagging their tails… vs… shoulders to rest upon and an exuberant shepherd.
Our way… vs… the Gospel.

The good news of Jesus Christ is radical.

Sheep wander.
Sheep don’t stroll back home after a good day on the range.
Good shepherds don’t just hang around and wait.
Lost sheep don’t wag their tails…

Jesus, our shepherd, pursued us. He loves us. He leaves the rescued to find the lost.

He sets a standard that Bo Peep could learn from, and in doing so, He demonstrates that God’s plan is no nursery rhyme. It’s dirty, and dangerous, and costly, and effective.

Lost sheep… every last one of them… need a shepherd. A real shepherd. A courageous and committed shepherd.

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