Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to him. And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, "This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them."
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 neighbours, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.'"Luke 15.1-6; see also Matthew 18.12-14
The loving God pursues us, just as the shepherd leaves the ninety-nine to find
the one. From a rational perspective, the shepherd would do better to guard his ninety-nine and forsake the one that he's lost because that would be more profitable. But God's love doesn't seek profit – every individual sheep is worth pursuing.
Sometimes we can be exclusive about the people for whom we want to show love
and care. In verse 2 we read: 'the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, "This fellow welcomes sinners, and eats with them."' But the Jesus that we claim to follow ate with all sorts of people. The sinners and the tax collectors were people that he came to find. Jesus went to Matthew's house – Matthew the tax collector – to have dinner with him. Jesus went out of his way to spend time to eat with a group of people whom many in society rejected.
In the same way, Jesus left heaven and came down, not only to dine with us, but also to die for us. He has done everything to find us.
Loving God, thank you for coming to find us with your love. Please come to find
Instead of just expecting people to come to church, could we imitate Jesus and leave our comfort zones to be with them?
Adapted for website and FaceBook purposes from material written by Thelma Commey (Methodist Youth President 2019/2020)