For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost. “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? And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray. Even so, it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish. (Matthew 18:11-14)
Jesus Cares About Me
Recent estimates say there are 7.8 billion people in the world with China, India and the United States the most populous countries in the world. That is a staggering number to put into perspective of how much one individual will impact the immensity of nearly 8 billion souls. History is silent to the numbers of people that have lived on the earth at one time but the numbers would be in the millions and at times billions at any given year. This is remarkable as the population of the world began with two people: Adam and Eve. After the flood where God destroyed all in whose nostrils the breath of the spirit of life, all that was on the dry land, died; there were only four men and four women left alive. Now 7.8 billion souls walk the face of the earth.
A man can feel very small when he gauges his personal space in comparison to the crowds of humanity. Walking down the street of a major populated city, attending a sporting event, being drawn up in a political rally, or becoming one of the countless millions who work every day and all the activities of life will remind the soul of how expansive the world population is. It seems overwhelming when considered from the standpoint of the single individual and his or her life. How can one person be so important in the grand scheme of man’s present existence?
Jesus tells a remarkable story about a man who was a shepherd of one hundred sheep. To have this many sheep was an important part of daily life. A flock of sheep would provide many levels of necessities for the family and offer outside income to supplant the needs of the family. Watching over the one hundred sheep would require a great deal of time, diligence and care. Each day the shepherd examines his flock for any needs they might have. On a particular day and for unknown reasons, the overseer finds he is missing one sheep. Ninety-nine sheep remain in the fold but the one lamb is missing.
The mathematics of the shepherd’s plight would be a one-percent loss. In comparison to other loss ratios of business, this would be expected and planned for. Retail theft is common around two-percent of sales. When the shepherd realized the one lamb had gone astray the decision to go after the lost sheep would have been measured by the amount of sheep remaining. But this shepherd was not like other shepherds. He leaves the ninety-nine and goes to the mountains to seek the one that is straying. This is an arduous and dangerous task but the shepherd will not give up until he has found the lost sheep.
Jesus is teaching a lesson that out of all the 7.8 billion people in the world, the one is just as important and recognized as necessary, important, needful and valued by God. The Creator who has a name for every star cares about me – myself – my life – my hopes – my dreams – my failures – my world – and most important: my eternal life. God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son for me. I am not insignificant, unimportant and forgotten. The world may not know who I am but Jesus cares for me and God knows all about me. What have I to fear with an eternal Shepherd like that?