Jesus welcomed the people, taught them about the Kingdom of God and healed those in need. Luke 9:11
The whole course is exceptional very relevant to me. I have gone away with a lot to think about. I have learnt that I don't have just to cope and be so independent. God is good & loves me, even me!.... Read More...

Seeds of the Kingdom

The Shepherd, the Stray Sheep, and the Little Ones – Part 1

by Gilly Mathiesen

Will he not leave the ninety-nine (sheep) on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.
Matthew 18:12b-13, NIV

Most of us know some stray sheep, and many of us have some in our own families. We may spend time worrying about them, longing for them to come back to the fold, and yet the great Shepherd willingly leaves the ninety-nine, just to find that one and bring him or her back. He longs for us to trust Him to do this.

Or you may be reading this and feel like you are that lost sheep. Take hope, the Shepherd has not forgotten you and knows how to reach you or your family member. Interestingly, the use of the term ‘black sheep of the family’, often refers to that one who does not conform, does not fit in, is misunderstood, or perhaps has strayed away from the family’s values. The Lord loves those sheep too!

Reading this parable afresh has generated new understanding for me. I had always thought that the ‘little ones’ of this passage were referring to the children present in the crowd gathered around Jesus, until I noted that ‘little ones’ also was used in relation to the sheep which had strayed.

Looking at the Greek and other references using the same word, it can also be applied to those who are insignificant in terms of rank or influence. The Greek word is also used to describe the mustard seed being the ‘least’ or ‘smallest’ of all the seeds. We will look at that application of the word in part two.

King David seems to have been like that sheep at one stage. He describes in Psalm 119:67 that, before he was afflicted, he went astray, but that now he obeys God’s word. In Hebrew the word for afflicted ‘anah’ can also mean ‘to be humbled’.

Being called ‘a little one’ by the Lord evokes such a sense of being cherished and loved, and the ‘little ones’ we are so concerned about are the ones the Lord can, and wants to, reach. And if you are reading this and are feeling like you are that little sheep who has wandered off, take heart, the Shepherd is calling you back.

In that same parable in Luke, beautifully depicted, the shepherd joyfully puts that little sheep on his shoulders when he finds it and takes it home (Luke 15:5). I imagine an exhausted, anxious, fearful little sheep, feeling lost, alone, and perplexed, who hasn’t even the strength to walk back to the fold itself, and needs to be carried. The great Shepherd longs to carry His tiny stray sheep back into the safety of the fold, back to join the rest of the family.

We can trust Him to draw us, as well as our loved ones, back to Himself. I encourage you to take time to hear the Shepherd’s voice today.

Gilly Mathiesen Gilly has a heart to see broken lives healed. She got involved in Christian ministry at a young age, working as a missionary for some years, as well as teaching at a Christian school. She has been involved with Ellel Ministries for the past 10 years and trained and worked on the team in Northern Ireland before moving to Denmark in 2016. She and her husband Steen have been pioneering an Ellel work there since early 2018. They long to see people healed and set free to be all that God has designed them to be.


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