This story is found among other stories shared in this weekend’s gospel passage.
It is a story well known to us and one, that many can identify with, having lost animals from their farms and fields. The search is intense and usually involves neighbours who are asked to help in the search.
There is no denying the rejoicing when an animal is found safe and well. The sense of relief is evident to all and the farmer goes to bed all the happier because the animal is found. This is the image Jesus wants to put before us.
The image of one worried because something of value is missing. He is, of course, referring to more than a sheep or straying calf or a lost coin. He is calling us to an awareness of how deeply concerned God is when members of the flock wander, stray and maybe even get lost.
His desire for their recovery is central and, like the shepherd or farmer, there is rejoicing in His heart when one who has been lost is found. The pastures put before us are sufficient to our needs and if we wander within the spiritual fencing of our world, there is little danger of getting lost.
There is however something that makes us want to push our way through the hole in the fence and explore what maybe is not, at the end of the day, very helpful to us.
Lost or exploring …. God is watching out for our safe return.