“The Son of Man came to save the lost. What do you think? If it would happen to some man who has one hundred sheep and one of them would go astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and then go seek the one that strayed? Then if he happens to find it, truly I say to you that he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine, those that have not strayed. Thus it is a desire before your Father, the One in the heavens, that not one of the least of these would be lost.” (One New Man Bible)
As the roll was being called at our church’s annual meeting, I beganthinking about my children who have walked away from church as well as other young people they grew up with who have done the same. The Lord illuminated these scriptures to me and applied them to my life.
The shepherd left 99 of his sheep to go after the one sheep that strayed away. Would you leave behind 99% of your assets to save 1%? As with this stray one, many people have strayed away from our churches, our families, the values they were taught when young. They have fallen into the crevices left by the world and all it contains; tasting of what their elders forbid them when they were young.
As the shepherd seeks for his stray, so our Lord seeks for the lost, particularly our wayward children. He will seek until He finds them, whatever deep, dark crevasse of the enemy they have fallen into. Our children will return to the Lord just as the Good Shepherd returned the lost one to the fold. He will carry them gently; wash their wounds and pour in the oil and wine that restores their souls. By faith, those who have wandered away will surely be brought back into the fold. Then there will be great rejoicing!!!
The Lost Lamb
One spring day, my son Alex (who was 10 or 12) was helping our friend Mel Zehr clean the camping areas at Happy Hollow Camp Grounds. Alex found a little toy lamb, lost and forlorn under a trailer. His soft heart could not leave it lying in the dirt, so he brought it home to see what I could do with it.
The poor toy was dirty and its head was almost separated from its body. Because my son saw it as something worth bringing home, I set to work mending and cleaning it. After putting the stuffing back in and stitching the neck back onto the body, I washed it and was amazed to see how clean the little lamb turned out. I found a very royal-looking purple ribbon and tied it in a bow around the neck I had mended.
Isn’t this a true picture of the lost lamb Jesus went after when He left the ninety nine behind? He took the time to find it, rescue and comfort it; all the time rejoicing that the lamb was returned to the fold. In the same way I cleaned and cared for the toy lamb and then rejoiced that it came out so clean, He tends to our wounds, cleans us whiter than snow, and then adopts us into God’s royal family. This little toy lamb has sat on a shelf in my bedroom for many years reminding me of the Lord’s goodness. It also reminds me of a young boy’s faith in the Lord as he was learning to trust Him.
Dear ones, I encourage you today to hold fast to these promises in faith, not trusting in what you see; no matter how far from the Lord your loved ones may be. The Father loves your wayward ones more than you ever could and does not want them to perish. Keep standing in the gap for your family, friends and loved ones.
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me,
for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Matthew 11: 28-30
One night I was at church as we all prayed and sought the Lord. Many others went to the altar to kneel, pray, and be prayed for. I stood at my chair because the Lord was dealing with me right where I was.
I felt heaviness in my shoulders and upper back. Like when you carry a full backpack a long distance, I felt stooped over. I told the Lord about this heavy feeling, and His Spirit brought to mind the above passage of scripture.
I said: “Lord, this burden on me is heavy and uncomfortable. I must be trying to carry the load I have made myself with the yoke I have cobbled together. Please take it from me and replace it with Your yoke, because Yours fits well and makes the load light and easy to carry.”
I felt relief of the heaviness on my shoulders as I released my load to Jesus. As I turned all my cares and concerns for my family over to Him, the peace that came overwhelmed me. I realized (again) my body, soul and spirit were never meant to carry all the world’s cares. It’s wonderful when the Lord brings things back to mind when we forget!
There are basically two kinds of yokes: one to be shared by two, and one to be used alone. If a yoke is made correctly, it evenly distributes the weight across the shoulders and neck of two animals so they can pull together and share the load. A poorly made yoke rubs and chafes and causes the animals to balk and do a very bad job of moving things. A well-balanced, nicely shaped yoke for a person to carry two buckets of water works well, without pulling on the person’s neck and forcing them to shift to balance the load. These adjustments usually cause many aches and pains. Jesus, being the master carpenter, knows just how to fashion the yoke that we were made to carry. He knows just what load we can carry – as long as we’re not trying to carry it on our own.
It is said that the Lord won’t give you anything more than you can handle. If your burden seems to be too much, see if you’re trying to carry it yourself and take on more than the Lord intends you to have. Remember: His yoke is easy and His burden for you is light – IF you let Him carry it with you! I remind you that this Christian life we live was meant to be lived in communion with Father, Son and Spirit; as Christ is in Father God, we are hidden in Christ. When Jesus rose from the dead and ascended to Heaven, Father God sent us the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. He is a strong comfort, guide, and friend. Make sure you’re not playing the Lone Ranger part; we were not made to live separate from Father God who made us.
I pray your burden is lifted today as the Spirit quickens your spirit to what the Lord is saying to you.