By Van Yandell
Psalm 119:176 KJV “I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant; For I do not forget thy commandments.”
It was around eleven p.m. Margie couldn’t find The Bearcat. She went outside with a flashlight diligently seeking our old golden tomcat. No Bearcat! Where could he be?
She later comes to bed, worried almost to a state of panic. “Van, pay attention, I can’t find Bear.” She has to say “Van, pay attention” if the matter at hand is really important. Knowing Bear has a tendency to wander (being a cat) late at night, I replied, “He’ll be back when the coyotes start singing down on the creek.”
That just made matters worse! Coyotes really like to have cats as guests for supper. So, I came out of my state of drowsiness, got up and proceeded out with a flashlight. I was barefoot and less than fully clothed. Wandering in the darkness I proceeded with an intensive cat search.
Searching the lot I went behind the garage to find an opossum feasting in my garden. I did not know possums liked okra. But no Bearcat!
I searched all around the house, along the edge of the soybean field and even went into the garage calling “kitty, kitty, kitty.” No Bearcat! At this point even I was starting to worry.
Finally, with soaking and cold feet, from my patrol in the wet grass at nearly midnight, I returned to the house. As I climbed the steps to the back porch, who did I see sitting in the kitchen? You guessed it; it was The Bearcat.
As I walked through the door, he looked me in the eyes as if to say, “What are you doing out there in the middle of the night? I was right here all the time!” Mankind could get a lesson from Bearcat; how many times do we look in the wrong place or listen to the wrong information?
Margie had earlier called and called, but no response. He wasn’t paying attention or did not want to be bothered; yes, at times, he’s my cat.
My initial thought was, “Well you little sneak.” But then the uncontrollable laughter began. He had been in the house all that time and we had no idea. When I told Margie, the “What? When did he come in?” echoed off the walls!
The Bearcat was lost and now he’s found. Margie was so glad to see him I felt like the third verse in the church hymnal. The lost cat was home!
Luke 15:4 “What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, does not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?”
Was it because sheep were the preferred domesticated animal for the farmers of Israel or because they seem to be so dumb? Perhaps this dual usage of sheep is appropriate for the teaching of Jesus in Luke 15.
Sheep tend to not see what is right before them and become trapped in the slightest barrier. Even a slight obstruction stops them from exerting any effort. If one becomes tangled in brush as was so common in Israel then, it will stay there until it dies unless someone comes to rescue it.
The Bearcat would not have been like a sheep. He would have tried to outrun any pursuer, but at his age, success would have been doubtful.
In our world today, we know there are over five billion people representing the one lost sheep. In Jesus’ parable in Luke 15, the shepherd would not have left the ninety-nine unattended. The significance of the “one” is great, but the shepherding process is also important.
Sheep stray away very easily and quickly. Like the Bearcat ignoring Margie’s call, sheep tend to hear but not heed. They seem to have a difficulty determining from what direction a sound is coming. Sheep will cry out (bleat), then go off in another direction.
If the shepherd does not act to rescue a trapped or lost sheep, the sheep will die. There is no other farm animal that requires more attention than sheep.
It certainly appears sheep are appropriate animals to set as a comparison to Christians. We may not knowingly place other indulgences before God (Exodus 20:3), but we do! Some may find it offensive or even hurtful to be compared to sheep.
God Jesus is teaching us to seek out lost sheep. Jesus sacrificing His life on the cross, is a testimony in itself that He is seeking us. To bleed and die for the sins of man by an innocent Savior is the boldest and most sacrificial statement our Jesus could possibly make.
It has been duly noted, the sheep that gets devoured by the wolf is always the one that has wandered away from the shepherd. Perhaps we, unconsciously, have the attitude “the rules don’t apply to me.”
Considering the often blasé attitude of the church in fulfilling the mandate by Jesus to “Preach this Gospel,” we should be ashamed. The indifference we witness in communities where churches are “on every corner,” speaks volumes about the callousness of Christians.
We will let lost sheep wither and die in the brambles of society before we would make any effort to reach them for the Lord. This must change and change now!
If we don’t tell the world about our precious Savior, no one will. Salvation is not a secret. Eternal salvation is by a faith based belief that Christ Jesus was crucified for the remission of sin and resurrected.
Some in our world find it nonsense to imply that a faith based belief in Christ Jesus is the only salvation. The final answer to that is-the Bible says what the Bible says (Acts 4:12, John 14:6).
Van Yandell is a retired Industrial Arts teacher, an ordained gospel evangelist and commissioned missionary, from Fredonia, Kentucky. This is part of the Bible Connection series.