That lost sheep didn't get up one day and decide to separate from the flock. They just put their head down and were eating and when they looked up, everyone was gone! She compared this to people, saying lost people are like that - they didn't intend to get separated from God, but they were busy dealing with bills, trying to get through life, and they were preoccupied. Next thing they knew, they were lost! This immediately brought to mind a recent field trip I took with our students.
We went to a nearby city to visit two different museums with 3 bus-loads of students. It was noisy, fun, and more than a little chaotic. As always when I am with a large group of students, I am on alert. I feel my job is make sure everyone else is safe (and hopefully not terrorizing those around us!)
On this particular field trip one of my students, who is in a wheel-chair, was on my bus. Now, there were adults who were helping make sure she got off the bus, strapped into the chair, etc. but for some reason I felt responsible as well. So, as the other adults lined the children up and got them to the museum, I stayed and helped get my student into her chair. The problem was, none of those working with this student really knew where we were going, and when we looked up - everyone else was gone! We had gotten separated and they were no where in sight! We weren't being "bad" or disobedient, we were just busy! We were doing what we were supposed to be doing, but we got separated. The entrance to the museum was NOT where we parked and despite looking everywhere, we couldn't figure out how to get inside!
I left the other adults with my student and sprinted down the sidewalk, around the building, testing every door. Finally I found someone who could direct me to the entrance (on the OTHER side of the building) and I went back to get the rest. Once we got inside the museum, I found one of the other leaders. They had no idea we had been lost.
As this new year begins, even as believers, I know that we will find times when we feel "lost" - separated from the rest. We get busy and when we look up we wonder where everyone else has gone! I recently had a conversation with a friend where we asked, "What happened?" What happened to our passion? We looked at friends we'd served with years ago who had gone on to great things...and yet here we sat. We had been traveling together for so long, having fun - excited about the journey, but when we stopped, we got separated. We weren't bad. We didn't even decide to separate. We just got busy trying to survive and when we looked up, everyone else was gone!
There are two groups in this picture...the ones who are lost, and the ones who moved on. At times, I think I've been both. As the "lost" person, I have to look up and realize I have gotten separated; but when I am the person who has moved on, I need to look around and realize, "Wait! We've left someone behind!"
This year...I want to be different. I want to look up. If I have gotten separated, I want to make the effort to catch up; and if I notice that someone is missing, I want to help find them. I want to act as that "sprinter" who can run ahead and find the way and then return to guide the others. I want to find the passion once again.
Luke 15 (MSG)
15 1-3 By this time a lot of men and women of doubtful reputation were hanging around Jesus, listening intently. The Pharisees and religion scholars were not pleased, not at all pleased. They growled, “He takes in sinners and eats meals with them, treating them like old friends.” Their grumbling triggered this story.4-7 “Suppose one of you had a hundred sheep and lost one. Wouldn’t you leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the lost one until you found it? When found, you can be sure you would put it across your shoulders, rejoicing, and when you got home call in your friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Celebrate with me! I’ve found my lost sheep!’ Count on it—there’s more joy in heaven over one sinner’s rescued life than over ninety-nine good people in no need of rescue.
For the full message by Christine Caine, you can go to this link: Christine Caine: A passionate life