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June 9 | Luke 15:1-7


 

DAILY READING


 

REFLECTION

 

Lost and Found

by Elaine Pierce


Have you ever been lost? I mean really lost? In these days of Google Maps on our phones, it is pretty hard to lose our way, isn't it? I have a terrible sense of direction, and I am grateful for the

 technology that helps me get just about anywhere with confidence.


In today's passage, the shepherd in Jesus' parable realizes that one of his sheep is lost . As a responsible shepherd, he searches high and low for the sheep, 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.'" (v. 5-6).


What part did the sheep play in this parable? Did he realize he was lost? Did he attempt to find his way home? Did he thank the shepherd for rescuing him? Who initiated the search -the sheep or the shepherd? And what is the reaction in heaven when a sinner - a lost sheep - repents?


The people who were listening to Jesus were a mixed bag: tax collectors, 'sinners,' and the religious elite: the Pharisees and the teachers of the law. We know that the Pharisees were grumbling about this motley crowd: "This man welcomes sinners and eats with them (v. 2)" Instead of rebuking them, he tells this parable, and follows it with the Parable of the Lost Coin and the Parable of the Lost Son. I can imagine how these stories made their blood boil: how dare he talk like this! Is he implying that my good works, my daily prayers and my hours of study in the temple aren't what will grant me salvation? Is he saying that God cares about sinners and will do everything in his power to bring them back to saving faith? It would be a bitter pill to swallow for someone who was convinced that his good works - and his bloodline - were what punched his ticket to eternal life.

It's easy to see the roadblock that the Pharisees put up to understanding that Jesus was not impressed with their religiosity. He was ready, willing and able to 'put them on his shoulders and bring them home' if only they would open their hearts to him. My friends, let's ask Jesus each day to rescue us, and let's rest in his arms, knowing that he has paid the price. He is the good shepherd, and he will find us and bring us home - thanks be to God!



PRAYER


Lord, so often I want to rely on my own way, and I fail to turn to you and allow you to lead. Help me each day to surrender my will, my desires, and my thoughts to you, and to rest in the sure knowledge that you love me and have the best for me. When I lose my way - and I do - I rest in the sure knowledge that you will welcome me home with open arms. In your strong name I pray, Amen.




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