It was a small church, just a hundred people. The pastor preached each Sunday morning, each Sunday night. Ninety-nine people were there for every service. Afterward, the preacher would stop by that one house to tell the one how much he was missed – and how much he was missing.
Some, outside the congregation, wondered why so much attention given to that one individual? There were ninety-nine others that required the preacher’s attention. Why not just ignore the one who wished to make his own path, travel his own way? It was his decision whether or not to go to church, why not just leave him alone?
Because, she said, the Bible tells about that lone, loved, individual.
What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. (Luke 15:4-6)
David knew this from the perspective of the sheep:
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever. (Psalms 23:1-6)
John saw yet another sheep:
The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. (John 1:29)
The Lamb of God is my shepherd. He knows me because He was a man, and because He was/is/forever shall be God.
Just one lost? That’s why He came: For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost. (Luke 19:10)
Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift. (2 Corinthians 9:15)