Finding The One



My blogs come from personal experiences.  The blog this month is probably more of a deeper self-evaluation than any I've written. It is not directed at anyone other than myself and was never my intention to judge others. I pray you will be open to reading it and feel how heavy it weighed on my heart.

Tax collectors and other notorious sinners often came to listen to Jesus teach. This made the Pharisees and teachers of religious law complain that he was associating with such sinful people—even eating with them!So Jesus told them this story: "If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won't he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it? Luke 1:1-4 Ju

Jesus used this parable in hopes of reaching the Pharisees and teachers of the law to show that his teachings were for everyone.  Not just for the selected few.  Not just for those who were convenient for him. Not just for those who didn't upset him, hurt his feelings or wouldn't listen.

This shepherd having 100 sheep was probably considered wealthy. But when the one was lost he didn't say, "I have 99 more, so losing one is no big deal." Rather, he knew this one sheep was in danger and he needed to find that sheep, something he would have done for any of his sheep who were under his care.


I would like to think I would be like the shepherd. Doing whatever is needed to find the one.  But if I'm honest. I would be like that shepherd - IF it was convenient -- IF my feelings weren't hurt -- IF I felt like what I would say or do wouldn't be wasted. 


It is easy to reach out to those at church who are in my "home flock." But there are others who may not feel like they are part of the flock, not come all the time, and then wonder off for various reasons. So, the question for me is "Do I stay with the 99 or do I leave the 99?"


The easy way is to justify my not leaving the 99 to find the one is to SAYsomething like....

·        "How do they expect to get anything out of church when they come occasionally or only one hour a week, come late and leave early?"

·        "Why should they feel left out of things after all information about church happenings is announced, in the bulletin, posted on the bulletin board, posted on Facebook, the church website, or sent out in a church text."

·        "If they or someone in their family feels left out, why don't they go to the person(s) in charge and let it be known or better yet do something to make sure others don't feel the same way they do?"

·        "They are upset because no one calls them when they aren't at church, sick, or in the hospital, but just how many people did they call or visit?"

·        "If they have hurt feelings towards someone they wait for the other to make the first move. When no one makes a move, they let themselves off the hook by saying, "I forgive ___" without ever having a face to face, heart to heart conversation.

·        "Why do they rave about going to programs, concert, events other churches do, even paying for them, then comment on how we should do these, but do nothing to organize them?"

·        "When something new is introduced to help the church grow, they are the first to complain, rather than see how we can encourage ourselves and each other."

·        "A great way to fellowship is when we have socials that include physical food, but why do they not see the importance of the encouragement of being together to stay stronger in our faith by coming to church to get the spiritual food?"

·         "Why do they not see the importance, the blessing, the privilege of partaking of the communion to remember what Christ did for us?"


I could go on and on in my self-righteousness as my halo sits firmly on my head, justifying I'm thinking for God.  But sadly, I too am everyone else. Some days I can do, say, and think what God wants and then there are other days I don't want to be the grownup. I want to be the one that leaves everyone and everything hoping no one comes looking for me. I don't want to be responsible or accountable to anyone -- especially God. I know this isn't what he commands from me and this type of action, talking, thinking is cheap.  It builds up no one. It slowly tears down the church.


The hard way for me to leave the 99 to find the one is to get off my high horse (you would think I would learn by now the fall doesn't get any easier) and DOsomething like....

·        Personally, telling them they are missed at church. 

·        Personally, offering any help to get them to church or activities.

·        Personally, inviting them to church happenings. Just don't assume they know about them.

·        Praying with them, for them, not at them.

·        Stop judging -- even if it is in a "Christian" way.

·        Validate their concerns for the church and devise a plan addressing them.

·        Together, reaffirm what we as a church need to do to serve God.

·        Offer to do a one on one bible study -- even if I don't know all the answers.

·         Offer to teach or sub for a class.

·         Offer to oversee a program or help those who are overseeing a program.

·         Work hard on making as many people feel welcome be they 3 or 103

·        Help them see the importance of the body of Christ -- his church

·        Stop justifying feelings, and go to the person that I may have issues with and ask them to forgive me.

·        Not get discouraged when ideas are met with opposition, and praying that the ideas are ones that glorify God.

·         Other words, swallow my pride, open my heart, come out of comfort zone, stop complaining, stop assuming someone else will do it, so not to give satan any more hold on the church to "find the one."


And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders. When he arrives, he will call together his friends and neighbors, saying, 'Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.' In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven't strayed away!  Luke 1:5-7



Romans 7:13-20

I Thessalonians 5:11

Ephesians 4: 16,29

Matthew 5:23-24

I John 3:16




"Muscle and a Shovel," and "When Shovel Breaks" both by Michael Shanks. Excellent reading that I describe as "It stepped on my toes, by going through my heart."



Using my self-righteous thoughts or your own (least I like to think I'm not the only one who at times thinks like this), of not leaving the 99, apply them to all aspects of your life with family, work, organizations, clubs, people you see on the streets, people you meet at the store, etc.


Using my thoughts or your own, of leaving the 99, apply them to all aspects of your life with family, work, organizations, clubs, people you see on the streets, people you meet at the store, etc.


Do we think the same way in is our spiritual life as our physical life? Do we give the same excuses to our family, employer, people we meet as much as we do to God? Do we act towards our family, employer, people we meet to do as much as we can for God?


A short story.....

.....Once upon a time, there was an old man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach every morning before he began his work. Early one morning, he was walking along the shore after a big storm had passed and found the vast beach littered with starfish as far as the eye could see, stretching in both directions. 

Off in the distance, the old man noticed a small boy approaching.  As the boy walked, he paused every so often and as he grew closer, the man could see that he was occasionally bending down to pick up an object and throw it into the sea.  The boy came closer still and the man called out, "Good morning!  May I ask what it is that you are doing?"

The young boy paused, looked up, and replied "Throwing starfish into the ocean. The tide has washed them up onto the beach and they can't return to the sea by themselves," the youth replied. "When the sun gets high, they will die, unless I throw them back into the water."

The old man replied, "But there must be tens of thousands of starfish on this beach. I'm afraid you won't really be able to make much of a difference."

The boy bent down, picked up yet another starfish and threw it as far as he could into the ocean. Then he turned, smiled and said, "It made a difference to that one!"

adapted from The Star Thrower, by Loren Eiseley (1907 -- 1977)

©Melinda Sutherland December 1, 2016Like Loading...


Direct Page Link
Powered By
Click here to host your
own church web site today!