thegoodenoughpastor

Enjoying the freedom of being good enough

The Ninety-nine

In Luke 15, Jesus tells a story about a farmer who has 100 sheep. Somehow one gets lost, and the farmer is faced with a dilemma.

What does he do?

The obvious answer, it seems, is to leave the 99 and search the land over until the stray is found.

It seems like shady math to me, but I’m not telling the story.

That lost sheep is pretty darn lucky.

But I wonder about the 99. What keeps them in the fold? How is it that they don’t wander?

Jesus never addresses this. It’s obviously not the point of his story. It’s all about finding the lost sheep.

I’ve always assumed that the 99 had played their cards right. They must have had their act together. It’s to their credit that they hadn’t strayed.

But is it?

Some of us stay in the fold more out of fear than virtue. We aren’t convinced that if we venture out of the safety zones of life that there’s enough love in the Father’s heart to come find us if we happen to get lost.

Fear becomes the fence that pens us in.

There’s something to say for those who dare to risk, to live life fully.

Being secure in the Father’s love and grace provides us the courage to fully express ourselves. We can leave the confines of the familiar and predictable and discover life beyond.

It’s risky.

It’s dangerous.

Sometimes we get lost.

We’ll need a shepherd to search and find us.

Jesus is clear on this point. He will do just that.

And it’s the lost sheep who gets the party.

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4 thoughts on “The Ninety-nine

  1. I always enjoy your posts and their insights. After 30 years of church work I felt the Lord lead me to follow him outside of the church. I still attend my church but my focus has shifted.
    In the beginning of this two year journey I felt alone, lost and adrift. I had to sort through and find my own dreams and not just continue doing things I had become skilled at but we’re really the passions of others.
    I ended up going to massage school. It has stretched me in so many ways. I never really expected to fit but God has surprised me over and over again to find his love in unexpected places. Along the way I have had moments of worry about if God was really leading me outside of the church. I graduate this week – it’s been an incredible journey. I’m glad I was brave enough to wander and explore. You are right he finds us when we loose our way.
    Awesome post.

  2. Thank you for your reply. I’m inspired by your courage to venture out and wander. You’re discovering new ways of being. Congratulations and may you keep exploring in the confidence that God has you in his hands.

    • I guess I never feel I am wandering and exploring alone. I think of Joseph and Daniel who found themselves far from the lives of faith they had once known only to discover that God was with them. I think it was Daniels influence that trained the wise of his day to be watching for the signs of Christs comming. I believe they passed that knowledge on to those after them. I think Gods hand was so on Daniel that his influence lived on long after him. When all of Israel missed the birth of Christ he was attended by shepherds and Magi who’s training started with Daniel. Jesus was never really embraced by the religious of his day.
      I suppose my confidence or courage comes from knowing his word but more from knowing the voice and leading of the Holy Spirit. The word promises that the Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth.
      I’ve come to see God as so much bigger than I once imagined. I think of the Psalm that says if I go to the far sides of the sea or to the ends of the earth even there your hand will guide me.
      I look forward to more inspired writing from you. This one encouraged me and is a confirmation to me to keep trusting Gods leading even when how he’s leading is different from what he’s doing with others.

  3. Thank you much for your affirmations. That’s an amazing (and sometimes unsettling) experience when we begin to discover God is much bigger than we imagined. If we can stay flexible and grow with it, it’s quite liberating. But if we have a God who has to fit in our prescribed boundaries and limitations (Richard Rohr calls this dualistic thinking), then we tend to fight and resist. We choose to live inside the fences of our rigidity.

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