The Shepherd’s Delight

Ben Van Arragon

Read: Luke 15:1-7

Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost. (v. 6)

When my children were younger, we had a pet hamster. This hamster was never content with her habitat, escaping whenever she could. On one occasion, she disappeared for several days. I considered her lost but then discovered her trapped in a bucket in our basement. She was desperately trying to claw her way to freedom. She seemed delighted to be rescued from her self-imposed trouble. I shared her delight.

In Luke 15, Jesus described a similar scene: a sheep abandoned the safe confines of the flock in search of something more. For a sheep alone in the wilderness (as for a hamster alone in a basement), “something more” usually meant disaster. Of course, Jesus wasn’t talking about sheep or hamsters. He was talking about us. We look at the confines of God’s commands. We look at responsibilities, commitments, self-sacrifice, and self-restraint. The freedom of life on our terms always looks better. The human race has always imagined there is something more to be had outside of what God has to offer.

When we wander, God should let us go. God should protect and provide only for those who stay safely by his side. But in his parable, Jesus established that God loves even the lost. In fact, God delights in reclaiming and redeeming those who wander, and he shares the delight of those who are found. Moreover, God invites us to share his delight when a lost one comes home. —Ben Van Arragon

As you pray, trust God’s desire to save the lost, and share his delight when the lost are found.