In general I’m an organized person. I have a place for everything and like to have everything in its place. Why then, do I lose things all the time!? Keys, purses, jewelry, money, electronics, you name it, I lose it. Recently, I took my very expensive camera to a conference. I took it out to take a picture and apparently set it on the floor or seat next to me and when the workshop was over I got up and left it behind.
I didn’t realize that my camera was missing until later that night. A hot panic crept over me. I knew the drill: get dressed, grab the keys, retrace my steps. So I drove 15 minutes back to the campus in hopes there would still be someone at the student center. I breathed a breath of relief when I saw an open door. I went in and someone was able to let me into the auditorium to check for it. Alas, it wasn’t there.
As I was on the way off campus I remembered that the last picture I had taken was in another auditorium. So I turned the car around and went back hoping that auditorium would be open but it was locked. I comforted myself with the thought that maybe in my rush to get my pajamas on and unload my stuff from the day, I had set the camera somewhere in the room and didn’t realize it. At the hotel I looked around but it wasn’t there either.
I felt my first pang of hopelessness and when the lights went out, a few tears were shed as the thought that I may not get it back crept in. Thoughts of shame and “how could you be in this situation again?” started to come into my mind. I spent some time emailing and face-booking some people at the conference who might be able to help me.
The next morning my devoted friend and I went back up to the campus to see if we could get into the auditorium. Thankfully, the campus police had a key and let us in. Hopeful, I searched for the seat I had been sitting in. The only thing I found there was my empty candy wrapper from that day…also left by mistake!
Downhearted we got into the car and headed for home. I checked my emails and to my great joy someone from the conference responded; “I think we have your camera! Someone turned a camera in to the information desk and it’s on its way back to the office. RELIEF!!!
This got me thinking of Jesus, The Good Shepherd seeking the lost. I recently was blessed to go to a Ray Vanderlan leadership conference. He spoke about the parable of The Good Shepherd. God loves us so much that He will seek us out and send shepherds to find us and bring us back to the family. No matter what you lose, no matter how much you care about what you’ve lost, God cares about you even more than that and if you go missing, He wants you back! Ray explained it this way:
In Matthew 18:12 God is saying that you’re as precious as 1 out of 100 lost things, in this case sheep. He’ll leave the 99 to find you. “What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying?
In Luke 15:8 [The Parable of the Lost Coin ] He is saying that you’re as precious as 1 in 10. (Which is a greater loss than 1 in 100). “Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it?
And in Luke 15:31 He says that you are as important as one in two sons. Imagine losing one of your children! He values each of His children. [The Parable of the Prodigal Son]31 “And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. 32 It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.'”
He loves His children so much that He even sent His one and only Son for each one of us so that we could live with Him forever. Jesus came saying in Luke 19:10 “for the Son of Man has come to seek and save that which was lost.”
He’ll never give up looking for His lost sheep. Ezekiel 34:16 “I will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away, bind up the broken and strengthen what was sick; but I will destroy the fat and the strong, and feed them in judgment.” So whether you’ve never been a part of the flock or whether you’re in a period where you’ve wandered away, your Good Shepherd is searching for you and the body is missing what you have to offer.
I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’m a “loser.” I praise God that because I have a Good Shepherd I will NEVER be lost! 😉