In the parable of the lost sheep, a shepherd has an hundred sheep. One of the lambs wanders off and it lost from the fold. Perhaps this lamb was distracted by something that looked interesting. Perhaps he laid down to rest while the rest of the flock moved on. Whatever the reason, this lost sheep became lost and could not find his way back. When the shepherd discovers that the lamb is lost, he immediately goes in search of it. Once found, he places the lamb on his shoulders and brings it home rejoicing.
Jesus explained that He was the Shepherd and that we are the sheep. It would follow that the lambs would be our young men and young woman who are constantly bombarded by messages that call them away from the fold (or church). They live in a world where lying, cheating, drugs, and pornography are accepted as ®normal.® They are confronted daily by messages and friends that believe wealth and power are the only things that matter. In our high-tech, low-spirituality world it can become easy to stray from the fold. Always intending to catch up later, only to find the darkness closing in and the fold nowhere in sight.
Sometimes when we wander off we mistakenly think the shepherd has forgotten us. We feel alone and scared and believe that there is no way back. The longer we wander in the wilderness the harder it becomes to believe that anyone knows we are missing or that anyone is looking for us. As leaders we are bound by covenant to go to the homes of those who are lost. To pick them up and put them on our shoulders and bring them back to the fold. The shepherd in the parable was not worried about what the sheep might think of him showing up so late. He was only concerned that he find the lost lamb and bring it home.