Kickoff Wk 4: Time Out
Sunday 24th Week in Ordinary Time: Kickoff Week 4: Time Out
Sometimes we have to take a timeout from our normal activities. For example, when you lose something that is precious to you, I’d be willing to bet that you will take a timeout from just about anything to find what is lost.
Maybe you have misplaced your wedding ring and took a timeout from everything to begin a full search. You retraced your steps. You asked people if they had seen it. You searched pockets, car seats, and desks. Maybe you have even dismantled the plumbing in your sink to see if it was stuck in a drain trap.
Maybe your wedding ring is not a big fancy one and there are thousands of rings like it, but the one on your finger truly is unique because it is the one you wore on your wedding day. If you lose it, no replacement ring would have that history attached to it. Now that is worth taking a timeout, to search for because such a ring is unique and unrepeatable.
As for me, I don’t have something precious like a wedding ring. For me it’s probably losing my wallet, not because I have a bunch of cash in it, but my identification cards, license, etc. That would be a big hassle, not a sense of heartfelt loss, but a big hassle. And Yes, I stop everything to look for it. And every time I misplace my wallet, I have a great sense of relief when I find it even though it is not unique and unrepeatable. Do you feel that way too when you find your misplaced wallet?
What could you lose that would be so valuable everything would go into lockdown mode until it was found? Some things are irreplaceable because they are unique and unrepeatable. Jesus spoke about many things, including what it feels like to lose something, unique and unrepeatable, and what it feels like to find it again.
Your children are precious, unique and unrepeatable. Have you ever lost a child in a store or a park? Yikes! If you have, then maybe you have a sense for what Jesus is talking about and what great relief and rejoicing he experiences when he finds someone who has lost their way in life. How did you feel when you found your lost child?
If you were ever lost as a child, and your parents found you, then you have a sense for what a person feels like when Jesus finds those who have lost their way on life’s journey. You were lost, and then you were found. Whew!
One story Jesus tells us about all this involves a hundred sheep and one that goes missing. Sheep are rather easy to lose because they tend to wander off. In his story, Jesus says a good shepherd values each sheep so much that if one wanders off, he will go and search for it, even if this means leaving the other ninety-nine behind to find it.
This is a great story about seeking out the lost one, and that is what Jesus does. He seeks the one. You may wonder what it is about the one sheep that is so special, or, even, what makes it worth risking losing the other ninety-nine to go find that one.
Growing up Catholic, I heard this story often. I thought how nice it is that Jesus goes after the lost, those who are “outside the flock.” Surely that wasn’t me. I have been Catholic since I was a baby, so I thought I must be one of the ninety-nine Jesus leaves to go find the lost.
Sometimes I thought: “I’m not that special to Jesus because I’m already “in.” I am one of the crowd. Not unique, not special per se, and I am worth leaving behind, by Jesus, so he can go find that lost dude. I was thinking my faith story is sort of done and boring. What more is there for me to know, or what more is there for me to do?
Let’s flip the script on this. Consider this, each of us is “the one,” the one Jesus is pursuing because each of us is unique and unrepeatable. Like your own children, we are much more precious than a wedding ring, or a wallet, or whatever. You are a child of God, unique and unrepeatable. To God, you are worth seeking out, always.
All of us here are the one. You are the one that God is running after to capture your heart. We always think, sitting in this church, that we are the ninety-nine and not the one. Even when we feel like we are “in” as one of the ninety-nine, Jesus always invites us to know him more, to go deeper.
There are many people like me who see themselves as part of the ninety-nine and forget they are still loved and pursued by the Good Shepherd. We should not see ourselves as valued by Jesus because we are part of his flock, the Church; we are valued as much as “the one whom he still seeks,” always.
Another aspect to this is that yes, in many ways, we, here in church every Sunday, are the ninety-nine; however, we do not simply stay behind while Jesus goes out to find his lost sheep. We go out to search with Jesus and to help him with the lost. We want to help you learn how to work with the Lord to bring the lost one back to his fold.
We are talking about the ninety-nine and the one this weekend because our small group series starts this week, and it is ABOUT the ninety-nine and the one, and it is FOR both the ninety-nine and the one. It is for all of you, and me. It is only six weeks long.
This series is about being lost and being found, and then seeking more. It is about going deeper. It is about our relationship with Jesus and re-engaging who Jesus is, ultimately asking, “Do I believe Jesus makes a difference in my life? If so, how do I live this difference and share it with others?”
Those are the things we want you to know this week. This is what I personally would like for you to do.
Shake yourself out of a collective mentality as part of the “in” group. Shake yourself out of the concept that you are only part of the ninety-nine. I personally invite you to participate in one of our small groups and see yourself as the “one.” Please take some time out and sign up this weekend. If you are already in a group, please invite someone to join you who is not yet in a group.
Invite someone to take some time out, with you, in a group and re-imagine your faith and relationship with Jesus. Discover how your unique story ties into Jesus’ story for you. Listen for his voice as your shepherd, for HE is seeking YOU always! You can sign up today on our website saintmary.life
Are you seeking more? Do you want to go deeper? Take some time out. HE is seeking You.