On Sept. 15, Pastor Jim preaches on Luke 15:1-7.

1 Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to him. 2 And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.”

3 So he told them this parable: 4 “Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? 5 When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices. 6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ 7 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.

“There were ninety and nine that safely lay In the shelter of the fold, but one was out on the hills away, far off from the gates of gold—away on the mountains wild and bare, away from the tender Shepherd’s care.” — Elizabeth Cecilia Clephane 1868

This gospel song is a very loving yet flawed tribute to Luke 15:1-7, known as the story of the Good Shepherd or Lost Sheep.

Read the text and then the lyrics. Did you catch the difference between the Scripture and the song? In the song the 99 sheep are left in the safety of the fold while the shepherd searched for the lost sheep.

The text says that the 99 are left in the wilderness. Any good business person will put the 99 in a safe place and then go look for the one lost. It is only the passionate, even careless love of God that will leave 99 at risk in order to search for one.

We’ll think together about that this Sunday. See ya in church!