When I was in middle school, I went with the Drama Club to Disneyland to celebrate a successful run of "The Diary of Anne Frank" (I was Mr. Kraler, as well as the understudy for Mr. Frank, but that isn't relevant to this story). We were told to pair up, and find a buddy, to meet at intervals throughout the day, and, most importantly, to stay together. The buddy system was there to protect us, as well as allow us to have more independence as we enjoyed the park. Knowing this, my partner and I got separated in a large crowd. It seemed impossible, because, though he was in 7th grade, he was roughly 6 foot 2, very slender, and had a unique look. Yet, it still happened. I looked everywhere, and I couldn't find him, even though I retraced my steps. So I did the only thing I could think of: I went back to the bus and waited. My partner, however, knew about a place I didn't, the Lost and Found; it wasn't merely for lost items, but also a place for lost people to meet up with their parties. Our teacher found him there, while later they found me waiting at the bus. My partner was lauded for thinking to go where lost people should go, I was given a weeks worth of trash duty after school for not following safe procedures and being alone at the bus.
Why do I share all of this? Because many of us lose our way, even in our pursuit of Christ. While I went back to the beginning, my buddy for the day went to a place that was safe, supervised, and appropriate for being lost. How often, when we're lost, do we retrace our steps and try to fix the problem on our own? How often do we pursue our own solutions, and end up making more trouble for ourselves? When we're lost, the shepherd is the best place for the sheep. It is only through Christ and His word that we find our way again; it is at the shepherd's side where the sheep are most fulfilled, where ailments are healed, where enemies are chased away; a stray sheep on his own is vulnerable to weather, predators, and hurting itself! If you feel lost today, the best thing you can do is go where the lost get found: on your knees seeking Jesus, crying out, as the lost sheep does, for rescue from the shepherd. It is only at His side do we find hope, healing, and salvation from anything in life. John 10:1-18 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.
So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”