“I was in Matthew’s gospel again this morning in my journaling time,” Stan began, “and some of what Jesus said brought back a vivid memory of my early days as a Christian.”
“What was it?” I asked.
“Matthew wrote about when Jesus was talking to His disciples and using the analogy of a shepherd who has one hundred sheep, but one of them goes astray.”
“I remember that story,” I responded. “The shepherd leaves the ninety-nine to go look for the one.”
“You are right, my friend,” Stan replied. “And what came to my mind is that in my early days of being a Christian I was involved with a small church. After attending the church services for a while, I was having trouble getting plugged in. I eventually stopped attending.”
‘Shortly after that,” Stan continued, “the pastor came to my house to ask if everything was ok.”
“Did that embarrass you?” I asked.
“Not in the least,” Stan replied. “The pastor’s approach was out of genuine concern. He and I had a long discussion of what I was feeling about the church. He was able to give me some excellent counsel. By the time he left, I felt very encouraged.”
Continuing, Stan said, “I not only returned to that church, I really began to grow in my relationship with God. I can only guess where I would be now in my relationship with God if that pastor had not reached out to me in love to see what was going on.”
“A good perspective,” I added, “to be on the alert for others in the church who may be in need of encouragement in their walk so they do not go wander off in a direction God does not intend.”
“Amen,” Stan responded.
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? Matthew 18:12.
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for sending your people to look for those who may have gone away from you. I want to be a part of what you want in reaching out to those who need encouragement in their faith walk with you. I confess that too many times I have not been the encourager you intend. Please forgive me. And please, Lord, lead me in exact accord with your will in reaching out so that one who may have gone astray is encouraged to come back into your fold. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.