What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the lost one until he finds it? And when he does find it, he sets it on his shoulders with great joy and, upon his arrival home, he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ – Luke 15:4-6
It certainly wasn’t Jesus who coined the phrase “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”
I cherish certainty, security and control. I knew this, even before my predictable life was smashed to pieces. I tried to overcome these hangups for reasons of self-enrichment, but I didn’t get very far.
Then I fell in love, which meant change. That I could handle such change was a sign that he was the right man for me. Not long ago I developed a chronic illness. Remember how I said I crave certainty? My disease has no known cause, no ideal treatment plan, and no clear prognosis. God certainly has a sense of humor.
But the man who received one went off and dug a hole in the ground and buried his master’s money After a long time the master of those servants came back and settled accounts with them…Then the one who had received the one talent came forward and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a demanding person, harvesting where you did not plant and gathering where you did not scatter; so out of fear I went off and buried your talent in the ground. Here it is back.’ – Matthew 25: 18, 24-25
Even as parts of my old life were falling away, I clung to what remained. I prayed every day to have my old life back – though I’d keep the romance, thank you very much. I kept my eyes locked on those 99 sheep. I kept my talents as close to me as I could. I didn’t want to go off in search of new life.
I wish I could say I am ready to seek the lost sheep, to put my talents on the line. I still want to make sure I can see the safe, comfortable 99 out of the corner of my eye. At least now I am willing to entertain the idea that the safety of the known doesn’t always trump the graces we might find when we dare to seek more.