Lost and Found
Matthew 18:12–14; Luke 15:3–7; Christ’s Object Lessons, pp. 186–192
Jesus comes looking for me when I am far from Him.
“ ‘Your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost’ ” (Matthew 18:14, NIV).
Seven-year-old Carla was with her mother at the market. She wandered away to watch a man showing how a toy plane worked. When she looked around, her mother was nowhere in sight! Carla was afraid. She was lost and didn’t know what to do.
A long time ago, a little lamb was lost. Let’s read about it.
Broken bits of bushes stuck to the wool of the tired sheep as they moved along the path. The shepherd gently guided his flock of one hundred sheep. The scraping sound of their hooves on the rocks mixed with the bleating of the young ones. It was music to the shepherd’s ears.
“Come back over this way,” he coaxed, smiling at a playful lamb.
The sheepfold was in sight now. Like most of the sheepfolds in the area, the shepherd had made it secure. He had piled many rocks on top of each other. Then he had placed thorn bushes along the outside of the rocks.
Finally, the shepherd and the sheep reached the sheepfold gate. As each one went into the sheepfold, he checked it carefully for cuts or bruises. He ran his strong but gentle hands over every sheep. The shepherd spoke soothing words and poured medicine on sore places. The impatient animals bumped against one another, eager to get in to rest. Tired and hungry, the shepherd would be glad to reach home as well.
“Ninety-four, ninety-five, ninety-six,” the shepherd counted. Every morning he took his sheep to pasture. And every evening he counted them as he brought them home.
“Ninety-seven, ninety-eight, ninety-nine,” he kept on counting. Ninety-nine? What? thought the shepherd. I’m so tired tonight that I didn’t count correctly. Slowly he counted again. A frown crossed his face. “Ninety-seven, ninety-eight, ninety-nine.” His eyes checked every ewe, every ram and lamb. Oh no! Where was the little lamb the shepherd had been calling back to the flock? It was there just a short time ago. Now it was nowhere in sight. That one sheep could be anywhere!
Carefully, the shepherd latched the gate to the sheepfold. He turned back the way he had just come in spite of the rising storm. He called out to his missing sheep. I’ll really have to listen, he thought. With the wind blowing like this it will be hard to hear, especially if my lamb is hurt.
The shepherd called. Then he listened. Then he called again. Carefully the shepherd worked his way in the dark back over the rough ground. Where are you, little one? he thought.
A stinging rain began to make the rocks slippery. The wild wind howled. How could the small lamb have strayed so far in such a short time?
Straining once more to hear anything, he paused. “Yes!” he shouted into the storm. “Yes, I found you!”
There it was, just over there, beside some rocks. The lamb lay in a crumpled heap, tangled in thorns, and bleeding.
“OK, OK, you’ll be fine.” The shepherd’s gentle words calmed the frightened lamb. He untangled the thorns and scooped the lamb up into his arms. “I’m so glad I found you,” he whispered. “Let’s go home.”
The rugged shepherd hiked back over the slick trail again. But this time he smiled. This time he was holding his rescued one close. Bursting into the house, the shepherd gently laid the sheep down.
He cried joyfully. “I have found my lost sheep!” He was so happy! He wanted to share the good news with his friends.
When we wander far from Jesus, He comes looking for us, too. We are His “sheep.” He loves us so much. And He is very happy when all His sheep are safe at home again.