At Racuj a Payaman when the clouds covered the sun, the wind was so strong, it almost seemed like you could remain standing if you just leaned on it.
After taking souvenir photos as we froze on the mountain, two other groups of local tourists arrived. One lady seemed to be looking for someone as she was talking to other people from the other group. When she came nearer to us, she held up a pearl earring and asked if we were looking for one. Emy was nearby and she sensed it was mine. When I touched my ears, one ear had only its lock stuck to the back of my earlobe! It was mine! I didn’t even know that I lost it!
I’m still wondering how long the lock remained stuck to my earlobe without anything holding it in place considering the tourists had come from the other direction. When perhaps they too were trying to zip through this vast mountain given the fierce wind and chill at the time, when it would have been more convenient to focus on the glorious nature their tour group came to see, Praise God for the lady’s kind heart, honesty, and diligence to look for the stranger who had lost it.
Two weeks later, I am awed at how what I lost was returned to me by no effort of mine. I am so touched and grateful today and really regret that I didn’t take a photo of her so that if she read this or if someone knows her, I could better thank her.
In one of Jesus’s better-known teachings, Parable of the Lost Sheep. He talked about how something (sheep) was lost) and found (by the shepherd). The shepherd would leave the ninety-nine sheep he has in order to find the one lost sheep until he finds it. The shepherd rejoices, “I have found my lost sheep” showing that he looks at the lost sheep as his own; he won’t stop looking until he finds his sheep. Jesus who refers to Himself as our Good Shepherd Himself, by no effort of the sheep, will take it upon Himself to look for the lost sheep.
For one, this is an encouraging passage because when we stray from His path or are clueless as sheep are, He will find us who are His. This is also encouraging because if in our lives we feel like people we love are going the wrong way, He will likewise leave the ninety-nine valuable sheep in order to find the one that is lost. He will be the one to do the finding. We are called to love even the ones whom we (rightly or wrongly) consider to be astray as our Good Shepherd will do His share to bring them back from the far country.
Another point to note is that first of all, Jesus welcomed and consorted with sinners (vv1-2), not condemning them or separating Himself from them. In Verse 7, He says, “I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.” This is a sobering reminder to not be judgmental of others whom we may typecast as “sinners” (in quotes because the bible says that everyone, including ourselves, is a sinner) for to the Lord, there is even more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who [humbles himself, recognizes his sin and] repents rather than over ninety-nine who (are prideful and feel like they) don’t need to repent.
Lord, thank You for the character of the girl with a pearl earring to diligently return it to me which reminds me of Your grace and faithfulness to do what is right, not based on my worthiness but based on Your own character. Thank You that You are the diligent finder of lost sheep and we can rest in You in Jesus’s name and for His name’s sake amen.