By Robert Halsey Pine
“Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” (Luke 15:1-10 NRSV).
Jesus’ parable of the one and the ninety-nine is a very comforting part of the Gospel. To think that the shepherd would put the lives of the ninety-nine sheep in jeopardy in order to find the one sheep tells us just how important we are, no matter what our state of sin.
This was magnified when I would go into the prison with my team to minister to those outcasts of society. I got a real sense of God’s presence in prison. A prayerful reunion with the inmates, including singing and hugging and witnessing by all, leaves no doubt. The Lord intends to find those lost sheep.
The only human that was without sin was crucified and died for all our sins. This is God’s gift. Instead of giving up on us, we are so important to Him that He sacrificed His Son to atone for our sin. It makes sense, then, that He continues to search for His lost sheep. If we weren’t worth saving, why would God have offered Jesus as a sacrifice for us? Each new day, Jesus dies for our sin once more. We’re like the little boy who wanders off down the beach. His parents are frantically looking for him. When he’s found, he can’t believe all the commotion. He just doesn’t realize how important he is.
This is the problem that some people have with attending church. They don’t feel worthy enough to become a part of a Christian Community. They feel like they ought to get their life in order before joining a church. But churches are full of sinners. Most people sin with their tongue. It can be as devastating as taking a knife to someone.
So, we should take a charge at the spiritual life, no matter what we think of ourselves. For we are important to God and he already has a job picked out for us. All that we have to do is make ourselves as an offering, no matter how unworthy we may think we are. There is someone out there that is in need. Someone who might go without if we don’t step forward for Christ.
When our days are over, what will be written about us in the “Good Book?” Write down your own entry right now. Have you wasted some valuable time? How would you do things differently now? What are you waiting on? It’s never too late to serve the Lord. With God, there is no age discrimination. He needs the young and the old. He wants to see the world in perfect harmony. Enlist now!
Robert Halsey Pine was born at Newark, Ohio in 1943. He is a graduate of Northeastern University and completed the program of Theological Education by Extension: Education for Ministry, School of Theology, the University of the South.