Being the Ninety-Nine

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By Tom Carter

Being a father of four (three are girls) comes with some pretty cool perks. For instance, my son thinks that somehow, I am so smart that I can answer any random question his 13-year-old brain can conceive. Even though I don’t always have the answer it is pretty cool that he thinks to ask me first, at least for now. In fact, I see him taking on both my best and worst characteristics as he grows up, a clear (if not frightening) indication of his admiration of me.

Now things are a bit different with my three girls. The girls tend to imitate mommy in their actions as they seek to understand what being a woman is. Being dad to the girls is different than being dad to my son. Although they have questions for me, the girls see me as more of a source of stability and comfort than an information bank.

The girls want me to watch them, sit with them, and help them fix what’s wrong. Not sure if this is a girl thing or just how the three of them are. There is also the reality that unlike my son (the only boy) there are three of them vying for my time and affection. It is often comical to me how they compete for a spot on my lap or a moment of my time, however I think it is serious business for them.

Everyone wants to be cared for, adored, and pursued. Yes, even introverts want to be loved and cared for, they just don’t reciprocate so well. In Matthew 18 Jesus relates the parable of the lost sheep. He says that a good shepherd will leave 99 sheep to pursue and restore the one who is lost. This sounds great, right, well maybe if you are the one who got lost… but what about the other 99?

Like my girls, we all compete for attention from someone. Our relationship with God is no different, on our end any way. Who hasn’t looked at a friend or neighbor and wondered why God seems to be doing so much for them? What about me? What about those of the 99 of us who are holding down the fort while that “one” is out being pursued by God? Hey, I want to be pursued too!

The good news is, you are! Pursued that is. Reading the whole chapter (Matt 18) will bring an understanding that Jesus is offering perspective for people in a variety of situations. He is describing the many ways that His infinite love is available to us. He is explaining that if you are a “good kid” who lives a mundane “least of these” kind of life then he loves you too. He is also affirming that those who wander are brought back with rejoicing.

So, whether you are a 99 percenter, or a 1 percenter, Jesus has you covered! The key is to look at the bigger picture and rejoice that Christ has you and everyone 100% covered.

What do you think? Please leave a comment below.