Luke 15:4-6 – What man of you having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, "Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost." (NKJV)
Although I usually park my sport utility vehicle parallel to the garage, on this day, I parked further away from the garage than normal. Hopping out of the vehicle, to the left of my foot, I noticed a glimmer of gold — my ankle bracelet, purchased in India for me by a friend. Having searched diligently for it for many days, I was convinced that it was forever lost. Here it was, missing both pieces of the clasp! Given all the vehicles and machinery that had been operating in my yard, I could not believe that it was not mangled. "Thank You, God," I said aloud, picking up my find with joy. Immediately, I knew that God wanted me to write about this experience, but I didn't know why until an encounter with a stranger provided the answer.
I am a collector of sea glass, broken pieces of coloured or clear glass that have been frosted and rounded by tumbling on the seashore. I was searching for sea glass on a beach when I met a woman and her children. She also seemed to be looking for sea glass, so I asked her if she had had any success. She replied that she never found any. This question sparked a conversation in which she shared a number of her burdens. Eventually, I asked her if I might say a prayer for her, and she gratefully nodded. I took both of her hands in mine and prayed with her. At the conclusion of the prayer, she said, "Thank you. I needed that." I replied, "It was my pleasure." Then I pointed to the left of my foot where a piece of sea glass was resting, and said, "Your first piece of sea glass!" We exchanged phone numbers, intending to keep in touch. I firmly believe that God placed me there at that moment, not to find sea glass, but to reach out to one of His children who was hurting and needed to be reminded of God's love.
The theme of many recent readings and sermons has been about what we can do, individually, to bring God's message to those around us, who, like the metaphorical sheep, may be in need of someone searching them out to extend the Father's love. Even as one who is outgoing and speaks confidently of my faith, I have wondered how I am to do that. The answer, it seems, is pretty simple: by using everyday conversations to minister to people. Did you ever stop to think that God may be sending you to the grocery store, the office, a parking lot, or even a beach to seek out His struggling sheep and bring them God's love through a demonstration of kindness, hope, and friendship?
Prayer: Dear God, we know that You call us to spread Your message of love, hope, and forgiveness in this world of conflict and turmoil. Help us to seek Your lost sheep, wherever we are, through everyday encounters and conversations. In Jesus' precious name, we pray. Amen.
Listen to this devotional
Listen while you read: "Hail Thou Once Despised Jesus" (Lyrics)