Parables are stories which a meaning. In the Gospel reading from Luke 15, Jesus’ three parables in response to the complaints of the temple leaders, Pharisees and scribes against Jesus’ ministry points us to the importance and God’s priority in renewing leadership to reach the lost (v.2). The complaints by these religious people were a symptom of larger problem – the lost of leadership/church’s focus to reach out to the lost hence, the disunity and lack of cooperation even in rescuing the perishing and caring for the dying. To be “lost” means to be away from the Good Shepherd and His purpose. The lost sheep was like a sinner who wanders away and do not obey God and the lost coin was like a careless sinner who strays away from God’s purpose and commands. God is good and loving but He hates sin hence, the need for personal repentance.
The parables of the lost sheep and lost coin resonates and very applicable to the church, leadership and our nations today. Leadership can be lost just as any nations or church can be lost. The Pharisees who thought that to be good, a sinner had to obey their traditions and their religion did not realise neither believe that God offers hope to sinners. It is in essence a sad case of parable of lost sheep of leadership (the Pharisees) than lost of a sheep (person). Leaders are first sheep under God’s care and command before becoming leaders over other sheep.
Beyond the gift of GPS on our phones, to be lost is to be away from God- where you belong. To be lost takes a process. Like the sheep searching for food, one can get separated and start ‘grazing’ and following after other things of this temporal world. One of the main challenges facing the world today points to the lost sheep leadership and the lost coin of mission and evangelism. Like the lost sheep and lost coin, you and l, the leadership of the nations and the church simply cannot ‘get found’ all on our own. Heaven is sad over the lost sheep of our leadership and the lost coin of the church.
The plan and purpose of God for a sheep is to become a lion, following after the image of the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, Jesus Christ. God, the Good Shepherd is not like a shepherd, a wolf in sheep’s clothing who may be in form of religious, political, cultural or nationalistic authority claiming the need to keep people for their own “safety” and to make them great again. Like the Pharisees, shepherds as a wolf in sheep’s clothing usually capitalise on the ignorance of the sheep in order to maintain their power, control and influence (Eph 4:17-18). What brings joy to Heaven and peace on earth is to see sheep becoming lions, leading by lionhearted example, nurturing, mentoring and watching as the sheep transform into lions. According to an African proverb, ‘an army of sheep lead by a lion can defeat army of lions lead by a sheep.’ An army of sheep lead by a lion is about renewing leadership to save the lost sinners.
Among the main hindrances to good governance, mission and evangelism today are the lost persons and lost coin, the lost currency of mission empowerment and evangelism. The lost person is a minus, a deficit to the work and mission of the Good Shepherd, and to the woman as a symbol of a church, the lost coin will surely affect the reason for its existence negatively. The reflection is that lost people and coin matter to God. God is caring, and when any of His sheeps is lost, He is worried. God, our Finder cares about the lost sinners and wants all of us to be happy and involved in reaching the lost. The question for our reflection is whether the church happy or bitter to reach out to the lost sinners (as shown by the religious people the Pharisees and Sadducees)?
Beloved, are you like one sheep who slowly eats his or her way away from God’s commands. It is possible especially under the influence of the seduction of today’s culture for persons, nations, churches to slowly eat our ways away from God’s commandments. For Heaven to rejoice, it is time for our nations and the Church to be found again, starting with you and I. Are you lost like lost sheep, spiritually compromised, fundamentally unable to help yourself, at least aware that you are in a mess? Are you ready to cry for help? Remember, you matter to God. God can still find you and use you for His purpose especially in saving the lost sinners.