I am not an animal

“I am not an animal!” cried the Elephant Man.  Increasingly, people are being treated like animals, or numbers, in our world.  Increasingly, people are being considered expendable, as economic rationalism, organisational downsizing, and social isolation occur.

Jesus loves each of us as His only child.  None of His children are expendable.  He has no capacity for economic rationalism.  He is irrational in his love for you.  He gave up His throne, became a helpless baby born in a stable on Christmas Day, suffered unimaginable torture and died the cruellest death for you.  He has no capacity for downsizing either.  He is adding to His church daily.  He doesn’t want you to be isolated or lonely.  He wants you to be a part of His church community.

“What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying?  And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray.  Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.”  (Matthew 18)

For a long time I thought this was a silly parable.  Why, I wondered, risk 99 for the sake of one?  It’s not rational.  But wolves won’t attack a pack of sheep.  They attack the straggler.  So the one that strays is the only one that’s in danger.  It’s perfectly rational, therefore, for the shepherd to leave the mob to seek the one that’s lost!  Sheep will stray (like people), so if the shepherd doesn’t seek each one, then gradually, one-by-one, the whole flock will disappear from under his nose and then there’ll be none.  So ultimately it’s an all-or-none job for the shepherd!  Of course, economic rationalism and other atrociously short-sighted thinking doesn’t consider that.

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