In Luke chapter 15, Jesus does something unusual. He tells three parables in a row trying to make a single point about God’s love. He tells the story of a lost sheep, a lost coin and a lost son. These stories involve loss, celebration and, to a certain degree, neglect.
Jesus states that if one of a hundred sheep were missing he would leave the ninety-nine to find the one. He states that if He loses one of ten coins He would turn the house upside down to find the one. He explains that if He lost one of two sons He would fret over the missing one until he returned.
Nothing could be more opposite than how we behave now. We don’t leave the many for the one. I am reminded of the famous quote from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn.
Spock: “The needs of the many, outweigh…”
Kirk: “…the needs of the few.”
Spock: “Or the one.”
It sounds good in a movie, but it is completely different from how God treats us. God sees the needs of the one and He is bothered. He can’t stand to see one person lost. He can’t stand to see one person without His love and affection. He can’t stand to see one person lost without an overpowering desire to have them rescued. He was so bothered that He stopped at nothing to rescue the one lost person. He was so bothered that He gave his own son. He spared no expense. He gave it all.
That is how I am supposed to be as a father. If I have one child who is lost, I must do everything possible to see them rescued. This means that I need to be willing to divert all my energy to the one who is lost…the one who is in danger of destruction…the one who is at the edge of destruction. I need to be so committed to their rescue, that it almost looks like I have abandoned everyone else.
Over the last few years I have had to grapple with this principle in ways I never imagined. I have been forced to divert much of my attention to the one. In those moments of great inner turmoil, when I am struggling with how lopsided my attention must appear, I have had to face myself in the mirror and ask, “Am I making the right choice?” Often times I would go back to Luke 15 and remind myself of how God has treated me. When I was the least deserving, He pursued me. When I was the most lost, He pursued me. When I was in the most danger, God abandoned all else to see me safe.
In God’s world, there are only two categories. There is lost, and there is found. My world will emulate God’s world. In my world, I will do whatever it takes to see the lost one found. Even if it looks like I have abandoned everyone else.