As a middle school teacher I am always creating lesson plans and worksheets filled with questions. It is my goal to help students become thinkers and innovators. Because I am not a natural writer I stress about what to write and how to word it (today included!). What is the best way to tackle my given passage? Once again I found myself unsure of where to start so I started with what I know – science – research – knowledge. I started researching sheep! Sheep are funny animals. There are many ways to raise them, care for them, make a profit by them, and protect them. Sheep are needy and quite helpless without a caregiver. Their tails get cut so that they stay healthy from disease, there are all types of fences and houses to keep the predators out… the list is long and complicated. If you are a sheep farmer it is important to know all of the cutting edge research and technology to keep your sheep safe.
In 2009, it was estimated that 247,200 sheep and lambs were killed by predators in the United States (USDA, 2010), costing farmers and ranchers $20.5 million. Predation accounted for 37.0 percent of sheep and lamb death losses for the year.” (http://www.sheep101.info/predators.html)
I had never stopped to think about the amount of loss that farmers and ranchers have had; however, this is exactly why Jesus refers to caring for sheep in the bible. In Luke 15 Jesus tells a parable about finding a lost sheep.
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.
Jesus views lost people as sheep, helpless and in need of a protector and savior. Jesus fights to save all people. Even when he has 99 he will still look for the one remaining. So I’ve posed some questions to think through, bring before Jesus and allow him to challenge me:
- What is taking priority in my life over reaching lost people?
- Who near me is in need of a savior and protector?
- How can I better look for and reach out to the people who need saving in my life?
- How do I receive the “sinner” in my life and help point him toward Jesus?
- What does having joy like Jesus look like?
- Why don’t I always hunt diligently to reach the lost?