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Do You?

Posted around lunch time by Jackina Stark

Our VBS one year centered around the theme, “Animals of the Kingdom.” Thus, the children, 2 years old up through the sixth grade, came to a classroom or area to listen to a story teller, that is animal, tell about a very significant event.

I remember when the director came to me more than six months before with a list of animals to choose from. I scanned the list, intrigued to find a whale, a raven, a cow, a snake, and a rooster among the animals to chose from. Then I saw it, the animal that made me glad the dear woman had assumed I would be one of the storytellers.

I was amazed no one had chosen it yet. I told the decorating crew to create a pasture in Room 5, because I, the lost but rescued sheep, was going to sit on a bale of hay and tell VBS children my favorite Bible story.

It must have been about Wednesday the week of VBS, when I was totally warmed up and hopelessly in character, that I began boldly to tell the children that this was the most important story in the Bible.

I enjoyed doing my interpretation of the lost sheep:

I’m not sure how I got lost, children. I guess,  like   it so often happens, I just wandered away. I don’t even know when I realized, for sure, that I was lost. All of sudden, there was no grass to eat or a  stream   to drink from or lie down beside. Refreshment and comfort, safety and peace were far away. At this point, what was there for a little sheep to do? I laydown in the dirt, settled there among rocks, and I cried. My shepherd had 99 other sheep, smarter than I and safe in the sheepfold, he would not miss me, and if he did, what could he do? Oh, I felt so stupid. And afraid. And terribly alone.

At his point each night, I broke character to ask a question, which was just as well because I had invariably cried my black sheep nose off by then. I asked the kids if they could remember one of the happiest moments of their lives. I tried to help them with it: was it seeing someone they hadn’t seen for a long time, was it the day school was out, was it receiving a present they’d long wanted?

Once they had this thing firmly in mind, I asked them what their faces might have looked like—in response to such joy, for pure, deep joy has a way of working up from our hearts right onto our faces. They gave the look a try, and then back in character, I showed them what my face looked like when I finally realized that the faint sound I heard in the distance was the voice of the good shepherd calling my name and how the look intensified when I actually saw his face and knew that not only was I safe, but that I was loved.

Then I told them a most amazing thing, something I shall never forget: the shepherd looked as happy as I felt.

I asked the kids if they knew what the shepherd did when he found me. “He spanked ya,” one boy offered. “You’d think,” I said. “But no.”

Though several of them knew this story, they didn’t know what the shepherd did and were delighted when I showed them how he put me over his shoulder, as it says in Luke 15, “rejoicing.” They all looked at me with a trace of wonder on their faces and seemed to understand what that meant.

Do you?

It’s hard to hold on to this truth, but Psalm 103:10 clearly states “He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.” Ah, yes. God so loved the world that he sent his son to seek and to save the lost.

Maybe you can understand why this story Jesus told, one of an amazing Trilogy, is my favorite story of all time.