The Worth of One

The Good ShepherdAuthor Ken Gire writes about the shepherd that sought after the one lost sheep when he still had 99 safe and sound. From a business perspective, it doesn’t make much sense; it is more reckless than anything. But from the perspective of the one sheep that is lost, while it still might not make much sense, it means all the world to be found and carried home again.

I have had a hard time understanding why the shepherd would leave the ninety-nine that were safe for the one that wasn’t.

Think through this with me. If we owned a business, how much would it affect our balance sheet if 1 percent of our inventory was lost? … True, it has worth–1 percent isn’t zero. But would it not seem vastly more prudent for us to watch over the secured 99 percent and write off the fraction we may not be able to recover? Protect the vast majority of our assets and we cap our minimal loss. Or, chase that 1 percent and risk losing everything. How could that not be needlessly reckless? …

Another hard-to-fathom factor is the length to which the shepherd would go in order to find the lost sheep. In the story, Jesus said he searched until he found it. Which is to say, the shepherd did not give up.

Would darkness deter him? A scornful sun, a sudden storm? Wild animals? Robbers? The treachery of the terrain?

None of these things would dissuade him.


For the one lamb that was separated from him … for that one, the shepherd went to the edge, and beyond.

Why would he go to such extremes? He goes after the sheep because it’s his … because he loves it.

How much?

Enough to sacrifice his life for it.

Although I’ve read a number of Ken Gire’s books, and all of them are deep and amazing, I don’t think any of them took me to the point of tears so many times as this one titled Relentless Pursuit. Ken Gire says in the prologue:

This book is about the heart of God and the lengths to which his heart goes to find ours, to bundle it up in his arms and to carry it home. It is written from the perspective of the lost sheep. As such, it’s not a book for the ninety-nine who are safe as much as for the one who is not. That lost part is surely not the whole of who you are or the whole of who I am, but it is a real part nonetheless.

That this lost part is pursued by God reveals our worth.

That it is relentlessly pursued reveals how much.

I’m not a business-minded person, so I have no idea what percentage of loss an investor will just write off. I’m not a shepherd, so I have no idea how far the typical shepherd will go to find a lost sheep.

But I know there are parts of me that have strayed, parts of my heart that have been lost and found … and other parts that are still in hiding.

I also know that, no matter how small that part, or no matter how far it has strayed, the Good Shepherd seeks until He finds it, and carries it home in His arms.


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