Suppose one of you had a hundred sheep and lost one. Wouldn't you leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the lost one until you found it? When found, you can be sure you would put it across your shoulders, rejoicing, and when you got home call in your friends and neighbors, saying, 'Celebrate with me! I've found my lost sheep!' ~ Luke 15:4-6, The Message
|The Lost Sheep, by B.R. Burton|
The skit itself was performed at an event called Winterfest, in Knoxville, Tennessee, back in 2006. YouTube boasts over 19 million views of it on their site, and I'm sure I've viewed it at least one of those million. Okay, I'm embellishing, as my darling daughter would say. But hey -- I've really seen this lots and LOTS of times, often posting it on my Facebook page over the years. It's simple -- amateurish, even - yet I have found it to be most profound and so powerful. I've seen other versions of it done by other church youth groups, but this one remains my personal favorite and close to my heart. As I said, it still gives me chills.
When we first come to know the Lord and surrender everything -- our heart, our mind, our spirit, our very life -- it's a beautiful thing, isn't it? Everything is so wonderful and new. And He becomes everything to us and truly is our First Love, as described in Revelation 2:4.
But, Revelation 2:4 isn't just a verse containing a lovely sentiment and description of Who the Lord is; it's actually an admonishment to the church of Ephesus, pointing out that they have forsaken the One Who is --was-- their First Love.
But I have this [one charge to make] against you: that you have left (abandoned) the love that you had at first [you have deserted Me, your First Love]. ~ Amplified Bible
As time goes by, so many things can come between us and the Lord -- love/sexual relationships, money, alcohol/drugs/party lifestyle, warped body image, as portrayed in this video, AS WELL AS those things and people we consider to be 'good,' like our careers, our service to God through our or someone else's ministries, our families -- pushing us farther and farther away from Him, until Jesus becomes almost like a distant memory. He tries to get our attention, but we no longer see Him. We can no longer hear His voice.
Because, much like the lost sheep that Jesus spoke of in the Book of Luke, we've wandered far away from our good and loving Shepherd, due to our rebellious nature or by responding to the enticing call of other things or people.
And 'suddenly,' we find ourselves in some deep, harrowing trouble and precarious situations.
|The Rescue, by Nathan Greene|
|Prodigal Son -- The Turning Point, by Stephanie Frostad|
I have been there in my life. And more than once. Yes, I've believed the dark one's lies. I've come to the end of my rope and each time, decided that it was better to hang myself with it than to believe that Jesus was still holding onto it -- and me -- and was desperately trying to pull me back to Him.
Perhaps you've been there, too, dear reader. Or maybe, you're there right now. Your shaking hands are clutching onto that end piece of rope, wondering what to do next, wondering if it's even worth holding onto at all.
Let me tell you with all honesty, sincerity, love and hope that YES, YES, YES, IT IS WORTH HOLDING ONTO!!!! Hold on tight, and let the Lord Jesus Christ pull you to safety -- to Him!!! Let HIM break your chains, knock down and destroy your enemies, cleanse you of your sins, guilt and shame. Let Jesus rescue you! Because you are EVERYTHING to Him!
I'm forever grateful that Jesus's voice broke through my deafness, calling me back to Him. I'm forever grateful that the Light of His Presence broke through my darkness. I'm forever grateful that when I've come to the end of my rope, instead of winding it around my neck, I clung tightly to it and allowed Him to pull me back to the safety of His welcoming arms. I'm forever grateful for Christ's endless love, His boundless mercy and grace, and His relentless pursuit of His little wandering black sheep as He lovingly, tenderly reminds me, over and over, that He is and always will be, EVERYTHING to headstrong, prodigal me.
|The Good Shepherd, by Nathan Greene|
Today, won't you let Jesus be EVERYTHING to YOU?