Tag Archives: lost sheep

The Father’s Heart

The Prodigal Son is a parable just about everyone has heard. We know how one son asked for his inheritance early and left home to go see the world. Like a lot of people who have won the lottery, he thought the money was unending. He spent it on frivolous things and soon the money ran out while he was far from home. With a famine in the land, he found it hard to find work or food. He soon was breaking the Jewish customs and sacrificing what he believed just so he could eat. He decided that he was better off going home and being a servant of his father’s than to be in his current predicament. While he was a long way away, the father saw him, ran to him, celebrated his return and threw a party. The older son, who was working the fields heard the commotion, found out what was happening and grew angry about it.

In this story, we like to identify with the son who left home and was welcomed back. We love knowing our Heavenly Father is looking for us and will welcome us back no matter what we’ve done. The story is about the older son too. He’s the one who stayed doing what he was supposed to. He’s the one who didn’t lose all his father had worked for. Yet he was the one out of everyone who was angry that a big deal was being made about his brother who had wasted his inheritance. He didn’t like that his brother’s poor behavior was being celebrated. He lost sight that it wasn’t a celebration of bad decisions, but that the brother had made a right one after so many wrong ones. He had returned to where he belonged.

Have you ever thought how different that story would have turned out if it had been the older brother on the porch rather than the father? Would he have sent his own brother away? It’s so important that you and I have our Heavenly Father’s heart. We should celebrate like Heaven does when the lost find their way home. We should welcome people with open arms when they’ve reached the end of their rope and have a repentant heart. Matthew 18:14 says, “Now you should understand that it is never the desire of your heavenly Father that a single one of these humble believers should be lost” (TPT). The Father’s heart is that no one should be lost, so He rejoices when one is found. It’s time we all shared his love for the lost and rejoice with Him in these moments.

Photo by Anna Claire Schellenberg on Unsplash

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Heaven’s Hound

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In the late 1800’s Francis Thompson wrote a open called “The Hound of Heaven”. I know I probably read it in high school, but I can’t remember much more about it than the title. When I think about God and His relentless pursuit of us, I think of that poem. I think of how God isn’t content to leave us alone. He sniffs us out, finds us and chases us until we are His. He wants nothing more than for each one of us to know Him and to be with Him. He goes to whatever lengths He has to in order to get our attention. He risks everything just so we can see His love for us.

Throughout my life, I’ve read and heard about Jesus asking the crowd, “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do?” He answers the question with, “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?” He draws a parallel with God who does the same with us. God isn’t content with 99 sheep in the pen. He’s looking to have every one rescued when they’re lost. He will go and search until He finds that one and brings them back.

I remember as a kid thinking, “I’d leave the one. I’ve got 99 others right here. Why would they leave them to go after one?” It didn’t make sense to me because I never had sheep. I still don’t have them, but I do have pets. Shepherds love their sheep like you and I love our pets. I’ve seen it over and over when someone loses a pet. They post it on Facebook. They put out flyers with “Reward” written at the top. They drive around the neighborhood calling out to that pet. They don’t give up until that animal is home. Why? Because a pet is a member of the family to most people. Imagine how much more they’d search if it was their own flesh and blood.

You and I are not animals. We are members of God’s family. We are made in His image with His craftsmanship. We are members of His family. Romans 8:15 tells us that God has adopted us as His own children. When one of us wanders off or strays, He goes into search mode. He sends out the warnings. He calls out to us in a desperate attempt to find us. He leaves all that He has behind because He would trade it all just to have us back. It doesn’t matter if we did something stupid and that’s why we got lost. It doesn’t matter if we purposefully did it like the Prodigal Son. All that matters to Him is that we get home.

Just like a hound sniffs out what he’s looking for, God comes looking for us until He finds us. He’s given up everything He has to rescue us. He’s paid the reward in advance so that we could go home. He sacrificed His Son to pay the cost of our sin. There’s nothing we could ever do to keep Him from wanting us to go home with Him. There’s no sin strong enough to break the work done on the cross. If you’re lost today, stop and listen. God is calling out to you. He’s looking for you and He won’t rest until you’re where you belong at home with Him.

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