Leaving the 99 for the 1…



“If I asked you to watch my flock of 100 sheep for the weekend and one wandered off, I would want you to stay with the flock. Don’t risk losing the whole flock for one lost sheep. I would be sad that one got lost, but I would be very thankful that 99% of my flock was still safe and sound. But Jesus doesn’t see it this way. In the Lord’s economy, seeking and finding one dying sheep, lost and ensnared in the far reaches of the frontier, produces more joy than protecting the 99 who are living safely in the sheepfold. Valuation in the Kingdom of God can be confounding. So let me say again: seeking one lost sheep ultimately produces more heavenly joy than protecting 99 sheep who are not lost. (For what it’s worth, I believe the 99 sheep are safe and sound in the sheep pen.)

Here’s where it gets really challenging. If you apply this same line of reasoning to UPG (Unreached People group) statistics, it becomes a gut-punch. How much more should we feel the burden when we realize that not one, but billions are lost in the frontier of unreached people groups? But only a single penny out of every missions dollar is spent to reach these lost sheep. Only a handful of shepherds are searching for them.Yet we spend untold billions of dollars building bigger and better sheep pens for people who are bored with the Gospel. We want to be the ones who live like Jesus and make costly decisions to do holy things. But these cold, hard statistics are a cold, hard betrayal of our perverted priorities. If we’re honest, we are the ones He is so lovingly chastising in Luke 15. For us to faithfully live into the mandate to make disciples of all nations, we have to actually spend our time, money, and manpower going to these places that are completely unreached. We have to go to the frontier. We have to care. We have to prioritize these unreached people with our intercession, time, and money. So we must go to them. To them, it’s just home. To us…it’s the frontier.”
Jeff Henderson