Scripture tells us an odd story of a loving shepherd who had a hundred sheep, but one went missing. And this shepherd does something crazy. He leaves the 99 and goes in search of the one.
It seems reckless, doesn’t it? Reckless and unwise.
The crazy Shepherd goes after the one, you see, because the sheep aren’t really sheep. They are the Shepherd’s children, created in His image. They have a divine purpose and an eternal destiny. They are deeply loved.
So, the Shepherd is far more concerned about the one who is lost than the others who are found.
The story doesn’t tell us what happened to the flock when the Shepherd left.
This parable happened to me recently in an online Christian group. It is a place where Believers gather to discuss controversial issues. But one day, a “wolf” arrived on the scene, a really nasty one, the kind that you can label with the word “ABOMINATION.” A couple of righteous sheep outed the infidel and ousted her. Then they praised each other for keeping the flock pure.
But they failed to notice something pretty important.
He was out looking for a lost sheep who’d gone astray.
A lost sheep that they had pushed away.
A lost sheep that made them cry “wolf.”
Because, you see, that wolf wasn’t really a wolf. She was a wayward lamb who was hanging around the flock with some bad ideas—ideas that some of the really white sheep thought would dirty up the flock.
And, to be clear, the ideas were bad. But bad ideas have nothing to fear from those who know the Truth and express it in love, as the Shepherd does.
So, what is the moral of this tale?
If your biggest concern as a sheep is keeping the flock pure, if you push away lost lambs and praise yourself for your good deeds, if reaching God’s wandering children isn’t your biggest priority—
And one day, if you ever choose to hear the Shepherd’s voice, you’ll realize that the real wolf never left the flock.
Because the real wolf—was you.
Catherine Segars is an award-winning actress and playwright — turned stay-at-home-mother—turned author, speaker and blogger. She is dedicated to helping other women see their worth in a season when they often feel less-than.
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