Lost Sheep

When I was a teenager, I was a Sunday School teacher. Part of the curriculum was to teach the parable of the lost sheep. In preparation for the lesson, I brought in pictures of sheep from National Geographic because I was unsure if all the students had seen pictures of sheep. These were the days before the internet and I was teaching in St. John’s. The students were only six years old, and many had not seen live sheep before. The students always enjoyed looking at the photos and were amazed to see herds of sheep from places such as Australia. 

I explained about the shepherd and how he was responsible for thousands of sheep. He had to make sure they were all in the pasture and at the end of the night, he had to bring them all into the paddock for safety, so predators wouldn’t take the sheep for food. The children were astonished that one man, usually with his dog’s help, could possibly get all the sheep back each day. They couldn’t understand how the shepherd could possibly be able to count all the sheep to know one was missing! I explained that the shepherd was so familiar with his flock that he knew each and every sheep. He knew what they looked like and could tell every single sheep apart from the other. To the students, all the sheep looked the same. They were all white and fluffy, and of course very cute in their opinion. They told me the shepherd must be very smart to know all of them so well! I explained that he watched each sheep being born and he watched them all grow up. He spent every day with them and cared for each and every one. One child said, “just like a mommy or daddy!”

“Exactly!” I replied. “The shepherd knows his sheep as well as your parents know you.”

I then proceeded to tell them the story of the Lost Sheep, and how the shepherd went looking for the one lost sheep, and how he wouldn’t stop searching until he found the lost sheep. One child piped up and said, “he had to look for the sheep just like my mommy and daddy wouldn’t stop looking for me if I was lost!” 

“Yes!” I said enthusiastically, “And God is just like the shepherd in the story. God knows and loves each and every one of us. He knows when one of us is lost and he will look for us. But sometimes, when God finds us, we hide and pretend we don’t see him. We know he can see us but we turn away from God and walk the other way.”

One little boy looked at me and said, “We should help God and speak to the lost person! We should show them how to come with God and bring the person back to the church with us!”

I knew then that the lesson was over. The children all agreed that they would help people, God’s sheep, to come back to his flock! 

The next week, I had an extra student: a friend of the boy who had made the suggestion. 

We all know lost sheep. Maybe we could find a lost sheep or two to bring back to the flock if we tried. Sometimes, all that people need is for someone to remind them that the flock misses them, and they are not forgotten. Let’s all find some of our lost sheep and return them to our flock; we are incomplete without them!

God Bless you all!

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