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Jul 7 / Chuck Smith, Jr.

Day Fifty-one – Matthew 18:12-14

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you

What do you think? If any man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go and search for the one that is straying? If it turns out that he finds it, truly I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine which have not gone astray. Matthew 18:12

Jesus challenged the disciples to think, to probe beneath the surface of their culture’s attitude toward children. With a little imagination and logic, they would be able to understand “the will of your Father” regarding “one of these little ones” (v. 14).

Christians flock to churches in order to join the community of the Not Lost. There they tell stories of how they were found, rejoice in God who found them, listen to sermons and participate in rituals to ensure that they remain found. We derive security and comfort belonging to such communities. There we find a place where we can get as far away from being lost as possible.

When the ninety-nine are huddled together in the pen, all safe and sound, where is the shepherd? He is somewhere in the mountains looking for the sheep that is lost.

Jesus loves his church (Eph. 5:25-32). He meets his people in the sanctuary where they worship him as he tends to their needs. But his eyes never stop searching for the one that is not among the the others, the one that is missing, the one that has gone astray. The world is filled with people that Jesus loves and wants to retrieve (Mt. 9:36-37).

O Lord, who loved us before we even knew You, and came looking for us when we were lost, lonely and confused, take us with You the next time You go looking for a stray. Give us the courage to leave the safety of our righteous community to go find that child who needs to be returned to its heavenly Father. Help us to sense Your presence among those outside the church and to feel Your joy when one of them decides to come home.

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