“Jesus told them this parable: ‘Suppose someone among you had one hundred sheep and lost one of them.  Wouldn’t he leave the other ninety-nine in the pasture and search for the lost one until he finds it?  And when he finds it, he is thrilled…’” (Luke 15:3-5, CEB)

Reading this familiar passage the other day, I was struck by the emphatic assumptions Jesus made in his storytelling.  “Wouldn’t he leave…”  “…search for the lost one until he finds it?”  “And when (not if) he finds it, he is thrilled…” 

I had to stop and ask myself, “What am I willing to leave behind in order to find what’s lost?  And when I find it, will I be thrilled?” 

In this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, all of us have lost something.  Perhaps the most important things that have been lost are ones we took for granted before, but now we know the impact they’ve made on us: a sense of connection, control, purpose, certainty… to name a few.

What would you be willing to leave behind to find something once taken for granted, now lost, and yet so vital?  And when you find it, will you be thrilled?

I reminded of something else Jesus said: “All who want to come after me must say no to themselves, take up their cross daily, and follow me.  All who want to save their lives will lose them.  But all who lose their lives because of me will save them.”  (Luke 9:23-24, CEB)

Jesus… Always so emphatic!