Sometimes You're the Ninety and Nine
When I think of the many descriptions of the Savior, I like them all. But the one that stands out to me at the moment is "The Good Shepherd". I love the imagery of Him lovingly gathering all of us to Him. He beckons to us:
"Come, follow me."
All we have to do is ASK, SEEK, KNOCK...
and he is there for us.
His patience with us is Endless.
Because, "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way..."
It seems that even when I am headed in the right direction and staying with His flock, I sometimes get side-tracked or just complacent. I need that gentle reminder of what matters most and where my thoughts and efforts should be. And He guides me back to Him.
Have you noticed how His commandments are really all about His love for us?
He is asking us to do things that will bring us true happiness.
He is showing us the way to safety and peace.
Even in the midst of turmoil and trial.
Yet, there are times for everyone when those loving guidelines seem restrictive. Too much trouble. Outdated. Boring. And off the sheep will go looking for happiness elsewhere.
Is the Good Shepherd mad? "Good riddance! Let the trouble-seekers just go see how they like it away from the safety of the flock here."
"If a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains and seeketh that which is gone astray?"
I used to think, well, He leaves the ninety and nine, who are doing what they're supposed to. They don't get his special attention. It's the "bad sheep" that he "rejoiceth more of that sheep than of the ninety and nine which went not astray."
I haven't got it all figured out, but I have lived long enough and strayed enough to realize at some point each of us will be the one. The one He lovingly comes after to bring back. The one He rejoices in. When we admit to a weakness. When we turn to Him instead of the world.
And when we are strengthened by Him. And are ready to give back. We are among the ninety and nine--only because He gathered us in. Only because,
"By His stripes we are healed."
Then, He asks one thing of us:
"Feed My Sheep"