Lost But Found
So he told them this parable: "Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.' Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. Luke 15:3-7 (NRSV)
Olaiya Muyiwa Benralph lives in the Federal Capital Territory of Nigeria. It was their practice in high school to look for one another's lost items (pens, rulers, pencils, etc.). Whenever a lost item was found, the class prefect would stand in front of the class and shout, "Lost but found!" The announcement enables the owners to identify and reclaim their lost items. Motivated by the accolades awarded to finders, everybody was actively involved in the search. Whatever was lost within the school would certainly be found.
In today's scripture reading, Jesus told the parable of lost sheep, where a shepherd went out to search for one lost sheep. "I am the good shepherd," Jesus said (John 10:11, NRSV). As Christians, we should not lose hope over anyone who leaves the faith. The Good Shepherd can find any sheep that has wandered off and lost its way. For Jesus said, "I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand" (John 10:28, NRSV). We can trust the Good Shepherd to bring the lost sheep home. "Lost but found," he will announce. And whoever we thought was lost will be lovingly restored to the fold.
Prayer: Dear God, thank you for caring for each one of us as the shepherd cares for each sheep in the flock. No matter how far we may wander, you always guide us back home, in Jesus' name. Amen.