Nice story, but completely unrealistic…?
“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ 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 NIV)
Nice story, but completely unrealistic. It’s never worth risking 99% to save 1%. How is it possible that the one outcast, the loser, the less-than is so valued? Jesus goes on to say that when the man comes back with the sheep that had wandered away, he doesn’t lecture it, or make it look bad in front of the others. The story says the man rejoiced. He got his friends together to tell them the good news. He is so caught up in finding that one sheep that the wandering away isn’t an issue.
As you read the Bible, you’ll find that Jesus told a lot of stories demonstrating this same point: God loves and accepts you just as you are. Jesus tells these stories because He wants you to understand how valuable you are to Him—not because of what you’ve done or haven’t done. Not because of your grade point average, sports stats, relationship status, or social standing. But because you are worth it. Because you are you. God loves and accepts you. All of the do’s and don’ts of the Bible have nothing to do with gaining God’s approval, love and acceptance – they have to do with living life well. The fact that God loves and accepts you no matter what means that he wants to enter into a relationship with you and he wants you to have a good life. The first step comes with knowing the truth about yourself:
• You are loved
• You are accepted
• You matter
• You are prized
• You are significant
• You are worth dying for
Imagine how different life could be if you truly believed that God loves and accepts you? There are so many amazing things that could be accomplished by a group of people who simply have the confidence to step out believing in themselves. The same God who created the universe, values you so much that he is willing to leave it all behind to seek out a relationship with you.
Some of you don’t have a relationship with God at all because you have never understood the simple truth that God loves and accepts you just as you are. Others do have a relationship with God, but have believed the voices around you and the voices in your head instead of cutting through the noise knowing what God says about you is the only absolute truth.
No matter where you are, know that:
• God loves you
• God accepts you
• God wants a relationship with you, not the you that you need to become – you and everything that comes with that.
I want to challenge you to take a step toward the good life, take a step forward in your own story. For some, it’s time to step into a relationship with God. For others, it’s time to take a step of faith knowing who you truly are. For both of you, this will be a step toward life lived well – get moving.