I don’t know about you, but I’ve always felt like the odd one out. However, I have the sneaking suspicion that deep down, most of us go through life feeling like that.
That’s why we struggle so hard to fit in. We feel like we belong to the one percent rather than the other ninety-nine.
So, what if I told you that it’s a wonderful thing to belong to the one percent?
You see, Jesus told a story about what it meant to be in the one percent. There was a man who had a hundred sheep. That was a very wealthy man back then. He took his sheep out for the day. During this trip, he realised that one of his sheep was missing.
He leaves the other ninety-nine sheep and goes to search for that one lost sheep, the one percent! When he finds it, he brings it home to safety on his shoulders. He’s so happy to have found the one percent that he throws a party for the whole neighbourhood. You can read Jesus’ story in Luke 15.17.
The odd thing about this story is not that the shepherd finds his one lost sheep. Instead, the odd thing is that he does with other the ninety-nine sheep: leaves them in the wilderness! (See Luke 15:4).
This raises all sorts of questions. Is the shepherd being irresponsible by leaving them out there? Aren’t they exposed to danger? Wasn’t the shepherd taking a huge gamble that by going after that one sheep, his other sheep would still be there when he returned?
But those questions actually don’t matter, because they’re not the point of Jesus’ story. The whole focus of Jesus story is on the one percent: on that one lost sheep. What Jesus is trying to tell you is that he loves you as if you were the only one.
He Loves You As If You Were The Only One
Just think of what the Son of God would have done if he thought that you were the only one who might accept his salvation. Jesus would have been born for you in a manager, just for you. He would have lived and suffered among us for thirty years, just for you. He would have been brutally tortured, just for you. He would have suffered a prolonged and savage execution, just for you. He would have risen again, just for you.
As Jesus said at the end of his story about the lost sheep:
I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents (Luke 15:10, NIV).
It’s not that the Good Shepherd is irresponsible in leaving the ninety-nine. They’re always safe if they are where Jesus has asked them to be. However, that’s not the focus of Jesus’ story. His focus is on the one that is lost: the one percent.
You may feel right now like you don’t fit in anywhere. You may feel like the odd one out, like the one who is most lost. Right now, Jesus is reaching out to you. He is calling your name. His heart of love is going out to you. You have all of his attention.
It may not be a comfortable place that you’re in, but it’s also incredibly special. Because you’re about to be found!
Article supplied with thanks to Dr Eliezer Gonzalez.
About the Author: Dr Eli Gonzalez is the Senior Pastor of Good News Unlimited and the presenter of the Unlimited radio spots, and The Big Question.