November 14 – Red Letters – Leaving the 99 for the 1

Read Matthew 18:12-14

“Where is George?”

That is what I found myself saying several times a day a couple of years ago in my kindergarten classroom.  You see, I had a very sweet little boy in my class named George, who had a tendency to, as they say, “march to his own drummer.”  Consequently, every time I lined up my class and counted heads to make sure I had everyone in line, I would come up one person short, and I would say,” Where is George?” Since my goal at that time was for EVERYONE to get to where we were going, I would have to leave the class in line and go find George. Sometimes I found him singing to himself while he was swinging on a swing. Other times he might be examining a weed growing in a crack in the sidewalk.  Once, he was sitting cross legged yoga style under a Jungle Gym with his eyes closed and humming.  When I inquired what he was doing, his reply was, “I’m thinking!”  Though exasperating, George never failed to put a smile on my face, and I was so happy when he was found and back in line with his classmates.

My goal was for all of us to get to our destination.   I think that is the main goal of anyone who is in charge of others. That includes teachers, firemen, parents, soldiers, etc. We can’t leave anyone behind.  What mother or father has not stayed awake at night, praying for a wayward child?  What soldier doesn’t risk their own lives to save their brother and sister in uniform who might find themselves in danger?  Police or fire men and women literally climb through burning buildings or a hail of bullets to rescue complete strangers!

I am sure the shepherd in this story loved all his sheep but he, too, couldn’t leave even one lamb behind to fall prey to wolves or starve to death.

God is like that shepherd.  God’s will is for all of us to be with Him in heaven.  No man, woman, or child left behind! That is why He sent Jesus to rescue us from our sins and to show us the way to Him. That is Jesus’ mission still today.  The question is whether or not you will join Him in that mission.

Will you look around you and see the one “lost lamb” and bring him or her back to the fold?  Will you introduce the one who has never heard the gospel to Jesus?  Will you face the possibility of your own rejection from friends and co-workers for reaching out to someone who is wandering and in peril of falling prey to the people and things that want to destroy and devour him/her?

It might take some of your time. It might be risky! But someone, sometime, someplace took that risk for you! Now it is your turn.

It is time for you to join the mission, pass God’s love on, and not let anyone be left behind!

 Pat Arnold

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