The Church and The Lost Sheep 

The Church and The Lost Sheep 

Jesus taught a parable that many of us may be familiar with, the parable of the Lost Sheep (Matthew 18:12-14, Luke 15:3-7). The Good Shepherd has 100 sheep. One of them wanders away, the Good Shepherd leaves the 99 to find the missing sheep. In Dr. Lamar Hardwick’s biography, “I Am Strong: The Life and Journey of an Autistic Pastor,” he points out that the “sheep” never realized one of their community was lost. Many times we don’t realize that our fellow “sheep” are missing. We see those sitting on the edge and we don’t think to bring them home. We don’t realize our community is incomplete, that those “lost sheep” are a vital part of our community. I know that my son, like others on the Autism Spectrum, have so much to offer the church. The Church is missing out and no one notices. 
If a church is built on the cornerstone of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:20-22) it must be built on the teaching of finding and including the lost sheep. Jesus included those who were lost. Before Jesus told the parable of the Lost Sheep in Luke’s gospel, the religious leaders pointed out that Jesus ate with those of the community who were hated and lost. In Matthew’s gospel the parable of the lost sheep is preceded by the verses, “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my father in heaven.” Jesus welcomed children. He welcomed the outcast of the day, the tax collectors, a woman caught in adultery, the sick, the lame. Who are those that are the outcast in our world? Who are the people in our world who have been left out? As Matthew 18:14 states, “In the same way your father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.” God notices when someone is missing from His community. Do we? 

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