The Role of Sheep Loving
By Shara Weiss
“It is easier to love humanity as a whole than to love one’s neighbor.” – Eric Hoffer
Perhaps this is true and it might be why some evangelists prefer to preach to large groups/nations, rather than focusing one-on-one. Talking to people one-on-one requires a level of comfort that not all of us are at ease with. It also demands that we understand the psychology of early childhood, doesn’t it? It’s far easier to love people one-on-one when we recognize why humans do the things they do or think the way they think. These factors are so often rooted in early childhood and when we identify with this, we can peek inside someone’s heart and mind. We can love them more and judge them less.
Before counting yourself of little value in a world that highly values mass production, remember that the parable of the lost sheep implies that loving one-on-one is a worthwhile thing to do. Some of us are called to help nations or crowds, and that’s amazing, but most of us are rallied to simply love one-on-one until that lost sheep returns home.
Do you struggle with the idea that you’re not making a difference for the Kingdom of God? It’s easy to do, isn’t it? We watch someone like Billy Graham on television or we read a story about a missionary who preached to 10,000 people in one night and had 7,000 souls saved…and we wonder, “What am I doing to make a difference? How could I possibly compare to that?”
I think it’s important to keep in mind that most of us are called to love others in a simple and personal way: through an encouraging word, consistent prayers of support, a letter in the mail, a helping hand when a neighbor is moving, a lunch date, babysitting, pet sitting, lawn help, listening to someone share about their childhood pains…just plain “showing up” when someone needs us.
Do we all dream of standing in front of huge crowds of people, hoping for mass soul salvation? Probably not. The majority of us are better suited for those small victories over coffee, email, or phone chats. We can model Christ daily and offer help to others, as the Holy Spirit leads. It’s exciting to watch someone’s life turn around, or to see God equip someone for ministry. It’s wonderful to know that we made a very personal impact on a life; to see it unfold first hand in the quiet moments of spiritual warfare and intercession, over a period of time.
For me, that’s enough. If you don’t feel called or led to convert the crowds, let it be enough for you, too.
*I wrote this article in July of 2014. In October of 2014 the Lord led me to the following verse:
John 10:16 | “I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.”
The Lord then placed my eyes on the verse numbers. I became a little teary-eyed and I said, “That is my birthday: October 16th.” Perhaps this is why I feel so led to love the lost sheep: I was born to it. Perhaps you were born to it, also.
The Parable of the Lost Sheep
Luke 15: 1-7 (ESV)
Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”
So he told them this parable: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.