9-15-2020 Little Lost Lamb
1 When the publicans and sinners drew
near to hear Him.
the scribes and Pharisees murmured saying “This man receives sinners and eats
3 Then Jesus spoke this parable to them
of you having a hundred sheep and losing one, doesn’t leave the ninety-nine in
the wilderness and go looking for the one which is lost, until he finds it?
5 And when he has found it, lays it on
his shoulders and rejoices?
when he gets back home, he calls his friends and neighbors and says rejoice
with me for I have found my sheep which was lost.
tell you, likewise, there shall be joy in heaven over one sinner who repents,
more so than over the ninety-nine persons who don’t need repentance.
the Old Testament was written to Israel so they could/would keep God’s
standards. The New Testament is written
to the Christian church, for the same reason with a clearer understanding.
So, today, I
suggest that too many in the church have become like the little lost lamb. Maybe even worse! Perhaps more like the scribes and Pharisees
of Jesus’ time!
would be offended if I said “God hates religion”? It is true.
Yet I suspect many would be offended.
berated the scribes and Pharisees for their hypocrisy. They sat in Moses’ seat because they directed
the church in the ways it should go.
Jesus says “Do what they tell you, but don’t do what they do for
they don’t do that which they say, themselves.”
with a man years ago who was very good at telling others to do, but he could
not show us how, for He, himself couldn’t do it. The scribes and Pharisees were a bit
different. They knew what and even how,
they just plain didn’t want to do it.
They were more interested in how they looked before people. They preferred the most honored seats and recognition
at gatherings and they didn’t truly care about the people (Matt. 23:1-39), only
how those people would see and receive them.
seen those in the church who just have to be acknowledged or recognized for
what they do? Hey! Look at what I am doing (or did). Ain’t I great! Give me a big pat on the back, puleeze! Do you notice some people just seem to always
hang around the pastor or other church leaders – not really doing much. Just
hanging round (it’s who you know and not what you know, right)? Do you know people who always seem to be busy
“at” the church, but not necessarily “in”?
They ‘do things’ but there is real commitment. Do you now people who “like” to show off
their bible knowledge? Do they know what
the words mean? Or just what they say?
practicing a particular set of rules, rites or rituals but does not require a
personal commitment. Just do what we say
and you’ll be OK. Does ‘works’ ring a bell?
Don’t get me
wrong. I’m not knockin’ being active in
the church. I realize the stages of our
own spiritual growth. We ARE to
encourage our brothers and sisters in the church and as we all seek to draw
closer to the Lord, we will find ourselves doing things for and working with others
– for God’s glory! I am challenging the
reason some people have. Do we do things
to get that ‘pat on the back or do we ‘do’ to please our heavenly Father? Jesus, Himself, recognized that, at times,
people do the right things but for the wrong reasons. Their heart is far from Him (Matt. 15:8). Paul encountered the woman with a divining
spirit who taunted him “These men are the servants of God who show the way of
salvation!” Her intent was to create
doubt in the people’s minds so even though she spoke the truth, she did it in a deriding way, as if to say “Yeah, right.”
exercising rituals, etc. with no necessary commitment other than ‘to do’. However faith is doing things because of our
commitment to the Lord. It come from our heart as we make decisions to follow
We have one
master and teacher and that’s Jesus. So
we should do, as the early disciples did, share what Jesus gave them to edify
others. He has also passed that on to us.
always remember that whatever we do (careers, chores, mixing with others) we
should do as unto the Lord. That is, as
if we were doing it ‘for’ God. Whatever
we do, we do to glorify His name. To
please Him. In pleasing Father, we
automatically please those around us (bosses, coworkers, family, friends,
etc.). We learn how and then live our
lives as Father expects us to live – in His love.
There was a
movement back in the 1990’s called WWJD (what would Jesus do). Especially today, we may do well to think
about that before we do anything or even open our mouths. Of course, to follow the example, we have to
learn what Jesus would have done.
worked at the Food and Drug Admin. (FDA), I started off in the Generic Drugs
document room. I was part of the staff
processing drug applications for ‘professional’ (scientific) review. We received original applications and then
subsequent amendments until the drug was approved. Even once approved, companies were required
to submit reports of annual distribution of the drug as well as all changes to
the drug itself, its manufacturing procedures, manufacturing facilities, etc.
for FDA approval.
companies were required to have a ‘cover letter’ with any submission describing
the purpose of the document. This is
where things became interesting for us clerks.
We had codes and definitions indicating how to code a document for proper
routing to reviewers . However, at
times, the companies weren’t so clear on a document’s purpose. There were a few companies that seemed to
insist that all those cover letters had to say was “Please add this to our
application. Thank you.” Needless to say, some documents were a snap
to prepare and forward while others required considerable more effort to
determine proper coding and routing.
I got to the
point where I didn’t mind processing the easy documents, they were basically
‘in and out’, but the more involved documents? Well, .
. . get the picture?
One day, sitting
at my desk, I was grumbling, to myself, about the tough ones when I heard a
voice within saying “Give Me the job!” Huh? I knew Who said it so I replied “OK, Lord,
it’s Yours.” I gave Him my job and that
was the day I quit working for the FDA and started working for God. Don’t misunderstand me, I was still at the
FDA for about another twenty years, but it was with my decision, my attitude
changed. I had a job to do and I would
do it to the best of my ability, period.
My good reputation grew and our job description was changed which gave
us greater advancement possibilities.
Within a few years, I was offered a position (still at FDA) teaching and
monitoring ‘contractors’ to do the job I had been doing and again, more
opportunities for advancement arose.
Coincidence you say? I don’t
Father my job, I set myself aside and performed my duties as He would expect me
to. No more grumbling but thanking Him
for the opportunity or challenge.
government pay scale had 18 GS pay levels, 1-18. The last five grades required college for
either management or scientific skills. At
OGD, I started as a GS4 & retired a GS 12. I say this to point out that when we do things
for God, good things happen! After all,
go-o-d is just an extension of God, right?
I might add, in English, the opposite also works well – ‘evil comes from
In the past,
I was inclined to ‘fudge’ the truth pertaining to situations with which I
didn’t want anyone else to realize my involvement. Just a ‘little white’ lie. Okay, there are no “little white” lies. An untruth is a lie. One day as I pondered why things didn’t always
go the way I thought they should, the Holy Spirit convicted me of what I had
been doing. God is truth. Jesus is God, therefore Jesus is truth. As a Christian, I’m supposed to reflect the
values Jesus taught, right? Again, I had
to change ‘my’ attitude. No hidden secrets.
In the parable,
the sheep are the church (OT). The
shepherd didn’t go out to see if he could find just any lamb out in the
wilderness to add to his flock. This
lamb had strayed from his flock. The
‘poor little’ lamb had strayed from the things it had been taught and, like the
prodigal son, set out on his own – vulnerable to any predator out there. Unfortunately, the farther we stray, not only
do we become more and more vulnerable, but we also begin to lose sight of our
foundation and the things that protect us.
Before, I thought the little sheep as a ‘lost’ soul who needed God. Partially right. But it was a soul which had been a part of
the flock, then wandered from its foundation.
There is joy
in heaven over one sinner who repents and comes into the kingdom of God. How much greater then is that joy when a
member of the ‘flock’ strays, repents and comes back?
As with the
prodigal son, the little lamb reconnects with Father’s love and once again
abides in His safe haven.
of the prodigal son welcomed his son back home, with open arms, restoring him
back into the family. We don’t know why
the little lamb strayed off but we do know that he, too was restored joyfully back
into the flock.
the little lost lamb can be applied to those who never knew God, it does more
to show God’s love for those who may have strayed from Him and have been ‘found’
us that, in the church, there are souls devoted to Father. There are souls who are there simply because
it’s a good place to be. As a youth, my
mom told me I needed church to be a well-rounded person. And, yes, the enemy even sows tares into the
church solely to cause disruption to hinder God’s kingdom.
As I said,
the Old Testament was to guide Israel (the church, Israel) while the New
Testament is for those who have accepted Jesus into their heart.
accept Christ, we don’t become instant Christians, but it is the first step in
our growing journey with the Lord.
Remember that should we stumble (sin), we confess, repent from our heart
and renounce what we said or did, Father is faithful and true to forgive us
(little lambs) our trespass then forget
it. He puts it behind His back and
restores us back into His fellowship (Isa. 38:17). I speak from experience.
stray from God, we are the little lost lamb, but lost only until we decide to
come back into HIs fold.