CARING FOR LITTLE ONES
Lord, thank You for caring for all of Your sheep, including me.
Read MATTHEW 18:10–14
The Parable of the Wandering Sheep
10 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.  [Some manuscripts include here the words of Luke 19:10.]
12 “What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? 13 And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. 14 In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.
New International Version (NIV)
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“The Lord is my shepherd” (Psa. 23:1). Repeat this slowly, one word at a time, and meditate on its meaning for you today.
Recently in Australia a particular sheep evaded shearing for over five years. It could barely walk under the weight of its fleece, and when it was finally shorn the fleece weighed 40.45 kilograms, an (unofficial) world record! Sheep do not manage well on their own. They don’t eat as wide a range of fodder as do goats, and they are given to wandering into places from which they need rescuing. They need a shepherd—just like the people of God, who are often referred to as sheep. Those who do not know him are as sheep without a shepherd. However independent we humans think we are, we all have a bit of the sheep in us. We all need the Shepherd.
A shepherd cares for every one of his precious sheep, however big or small. He takes the initiative: going out at personal sacrifice to seek the wanderers, to bring them back and to rejoice over their restoration. The Father does not wish any to perish. He sent the Good Shepherd to seek and to save the lost. The comment about angels in verse 10 has puzzled many, but we know that they also care for his little ones, “so far as their necessity and situation demands.” They bring their needs directly into the Father’s presence.
We sheep can be responsible for mistreatment of others, as in Ezekiel’s fat sheep pushing and butting the weak, thin sheep. Jesus warns his disciples not to despise the little ones who believe in him (10). The Lord and his angels know if we lack concern for wanderers or weaker believers. We will be made to give account. We, like Peter, must feed his sheep and his lambs. Pastoral care is ours to both receive and to give. Even in our smallness, we can share the Shepherd’s love with others.
Is there someone you know who needs to be loved, fed, cared for or brought back to the Shepherd? Make contact with them today.
Lord, keep us mindful of the responsibility of caring for each of the sheep, regardless of the need.