Leaving the 99
This post will be rooted in Luke 15:3-7.
Before I jump into this post, let me debrief you on the past few weeks of my life. My family took a vacation in January and I told myself I’d de-plug after the start of the year, and work on getting my mind straight for fresh starts awaiting me this year! I’ve written some in my private journal, but mostly I’ve prayed and meditated on what He’s been telling me. Now I’m catching my breath and eager to jump back in!
I’ve had this lyric from Reckless Love by Cory Asbury stuck in my head for a few weeks now. It’s getting to the point that I see it everywhere, so I think it’s time for me to share with you.
Leaves the 99.
Let’s get some background on this lyric if you’re unfamiliar (or as equally familiar) with the parable. Oh, and if you haven’t heard Reckless Love, listen below!
So in Luke 15:3-7, reading from the Message, we have the following parable from Christ:
Suppose one of you had a hundred sheep and lost one. Wouldn’t you leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the lost one until you found it? When found, you can be sure you would put it across your shoulders, rejoicing, and when you got him, call in your friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Celebrate with me! I’ve found my lost sheep!’ Count on it – there’s more joy in Heaven over one sinner’s rescued life then over ninety-nine good people in no need of rescue.
Could you imagine Jesus telling this parable to everyone sitting around Him? While I’m sure many scoffed, like those good ole Pharisees, there must have been an immediate swell of redemption for those who identified as the one sheep. They might not have even realized until that moment that they needed to be rescued! What a relief!
It’s like those times we lose something of value to us – whether that’s car keys, an earring, your TV remote or money, the thought of losing something makes our hearts sink. But while losing something physical of value to us is hard, I want us to think differently about this narrative from God's love. It’s hard to imagine the true, counterintuitive love of God. You want to think, because the mind-frame of legalism says so, that God’s love is strict and binding. But after reading and meditating on this passage again, it’s hard for me to justify that kind of love from God. The world wants to place a binding agreement on God’s love, but the only kind of love He’s ever shown me has been zealous in freedom. It’s not until you experience it that can you testify of it. Because when you experience it, nothing will ever be able to satisfy the unquenchable love of the Father. His reckless love, as the song sings, is for the one who is displaced, disowned and distant; the one who is lost, wandering and broken. He came to restore life to those who realize they are nothing without Him. I can’t think of a better scenario for anyone, and the absolute best part is that he exudes that kind of love for any – ONE.
Today if you’re feeling lost, broken or hopeless, I encourage you to read this passage in Luke 15 and meditate on the sweet promises of Christ. Remember Christ isn’t looking for a perfect person, He just wants to rescue the lost. You might not even know you’re lost and that’s okay too. He rescues those who call on His name because it doesn’t matter to Him where you are in your journey, all that matters to Him is how quickly He can save you when you think you’re too far away. Heaven will rejoice as He brings you home!
Lastly, if you’re feeling okay about life, not really lost or even away from Christ, let this passage be an encouragement for you, too. I know the longer that I’ve has this on my heart, the more I let gratitude spill from my mouth. Because we’ve all been there and without Him, we would still be there. But in His never-ending love, He found us. His love truly is reckless in that it goes against conventional standards. It has no limits, no bounds and the more I walk with Him, the more I become overwhelmed by who He is and who He calls me to be.
P.S. – Reckless is defined as “without thinking or caring about the consequences of action.” So to Him saving one sheep by dying on the cross is reckless. No one did it for us and no one else ever will. He will always be enough for our wandering souls because His love doesn’t ask for permission. In fact, He is love and because of that, we will always have the reassurance that His love will never, ever fail us.
He loved us not because we were lovable, but because He is love. C.S. Lewis