4 “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? 5 And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6 and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ 7 I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. (Luke 15:4-7, New International Version)
I had really good intentions last night/this morning. I intended to get to bed earlier but I didn’t make it. Now it is almost 3:00 AM and I am writing what I had planned to have done four hours ago.
I found a book I bought very early in my career that I just loved. It is a book of illustrations. I did use it for that purpose but at least as often I just enjoyed sitting down and reading the stories.
I’ve always enjoyed stories. When I was a kid I didn’t like them when the teacher assigned them. That usually meant having to write some kind of paper to write. If you would have told me back then how much of my adult life I would spend writing, I know I would have told you, you have lost your mind.
I enjoyed reading when I would actually find something I wanted to read and would sit down and read the book or the magazine. Sometimes I am still that way. I have plenty of books and a good number of them I haven’t read, at least not in full.
I do have a number of reference books. I know I will never sit down and attempt to read a commentary cover to cover. At this point I seriously doubt reading The United Methodist Church Book of Discipline is going to happen between now and when I retired, even if I don’t retire for another ten years. When I need something from the Discipline or a commentary, I know how to use the tool.
Still, this book isn’t like one of those. While most of the stories are non-fiction, I still enjoy a good story. Some of my favorite Biblical material o preach from is a good story.
So when I found the book, it really wasn’t lost, just buried on a shelf when I unpacked some (but not all) of my library. I know I had not picked up this book, other than to move it, in at least 10 years.
In the parable above, when the shepherd is missing a sheep and he goes o the lost and found, oh no, he goes and searches for it, and he searches until he finds it, then he is ready to throw a party because he found his missing sheep. When I read that parable, in my mind I see it as a party that includes dancing in the streets. Perhaps it doesn’t but that’s what plays out in my mind. It also could be that I have a vivid imagination.
So I found my book. I did my version of a happy dance. I sat down and started thumbing my way back through the book. I remember a lot of those stories. There were some that I don’t remember at all, but it was a bit of a celebration because I had my book to read again.
The book, monetarily, isn’t worth much. If I could find it in the used books on Amazon it might be worth a dollar. Then might even get less than that for it because it is pretty well worn. The shipping and handling would likely cost more than the book.
I am also reminded of the old Robert Robinson hymn “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.” In the final verse he says, “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love.” Just as a sheep will wander away from the shepherd and the flock as it continues to graze, I sometimes will wander and leave the God I love.
If a shepherd is overjoyed over finding one lost sheep, if I am so happy that I found an old book, how much greater is God’s joy when one of us wanders and God finds us and brings us home.
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Seeking the Genuine,
Copyright 2020, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved