Matthew 18 – Counting Sheep

Day 18 of #DailyMatthew.

And … here come the “hard sayings” of Jesus. ¬†ūüėČ ¬†Sometimes hard to understand. ¬†Sometimes hard to accept. ¬†And sometimes both.

Matthew 18¬†covers a few¬†controversial topics: ¬†true greatness, accountability for¬†the spiritual health of others, church discipline, deep forgiveness, and more. ¬†It also includes the “Parable of the Wandering Sheep”, which seems especially relevant to me and my role as a church leader.

First of all, the parable is a picture of God’s relentless love for all people, and his desire to have everyone “come back” to him. ¬†That, of course, is the main point of the parable.

But I also think it speaks to the values and actions of those of us in church leadership. ¬†How do we (and how should we) manage our time, money, energy, resources with the “sheep”? ¬†Do we focus on the 99 who are “in”, or the 1 who is “out”? ¬†Is one group more important than the other? ¬†How do we balance the two? ¬†Are we supposed to balance the two?

Here I have to acknowledge some change in my own life.  Change that I think is good, mind you.  For the majority of my Christian life, I have felt called and equipped to focus on helping believers encounter God through his word and then serve God as he has called and equipped them.  That has, and continues to be, a good thing.

In recent years, though, I find myself in more and more contexts where I am spending time¬†with those who are exploring spirituality, Christianity, God, and Jesus, and they are not part of any church or formal faith group. ¬†There is something appealing and exciting about that! ¬†Not the “not part of any church” element, but rather, the “I’m searching for God” element. ¬†In other words, I find myself drawn to the “one sheep” who¬†Matthew talks about.

Hmm¬†… as I look back at what I’ve just typed, I’m not sure if there is a particular point to this posting, or if it is inspirational in any way. ¬†Perhaps I am simply verbalizing what I’ve personally¬†experienced, triggered by what I read in Matthew this morning. ¬†Yep, I am seeing my contexts shift a bit. ¬†And I like it. ¬†ūüôā

Mark

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