Paul wrote to Timothy: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect.” (2 Timothy 3: 16-17 in the Bible). Christ is at the center of the scriptures. Said He of them, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.” (John 5:39 in the Bible)
The parable of the lost sheep
God loves us one by one. How eloquently the Savior taught that lesson in the masterful parable of the lost sheep “And he spake this parable unto them, saying, what man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth … (Luke 15: 3-7 in the Bbile)
Note the individual attention
It must have been at best a nuisance, and most likely dangerous, for the shepherd to leave the ninety and nine and go out into the wilderness to find the lost sheep. What about the worries the shepherd must have had as he thought about the flock left behind without a shepherd’s care to safeguard its members from predators, accidents, acts of nature, and so on? Whenever I think of the shepherd’s loving and caring efforts on behalf of the one, I’m reminded of the Savior’s deep and abiding love for each of us. He said, “Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God; For, behold, the Lord your Redeemer suffered death in the flesh; wherefore he suffered the pain of all men, that all men might repent and come unto him. And he hath risen again from the dead, that he might bring all men unto him, on conditions of repentance. And how great is his joy in the soul that repenteth! (Doctrine & Covenants 18: 10-13)
How do we help the lost sheep
The Savior said, “I am the bread of life, he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” (John 6:35 in the Bible) We help others to partake of the bread of life by bringing them to come unto Christ. Our example in keeping the commandments of God is our strongest influence on others. We seek “to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with God.” (Micah 6:8 in the Bible)
It is important for each of us to realize, “When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.” (Mosiah 2:17 in the Book of Mormon). With this understanding in our hearts, we are “willing to mourn with those that mourn … and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and … stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places.” (Mosiah 18:9 in the Book of Mormon)
The lost sheep parable relates to each of us and our circle of family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, church associates and others with whom we have a relationship. On a personal note, I have an older brother that drifted away from the commandments of the Savior and remained that way for many years. We lived thousands of miles apart. What could I do to help? Over a period of years I started to keep in contact primarily through the telephone on a monthly basis and then on a weekly basis. I tried to be the best example to him that I could and to show my constant love for him. I also called local church leaders that lived in his area and asked them to contact him, which they did. My sisters and I continued our prayers for divine help. Over time he began to repent and draw closer to his Heavenly Father and the Savior. Today he is strong in the faith and his life is much happier and you see it in his countenance and attitude. It does not always turn out this way, but we should keep trying to help, in love, those we can influence. Never give up.
Dallas Jones is the local leader for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Some of the Article came from Alexander B. Morrison remarks General Conference, April 1992. Any questions on this parable, call (231) 383-8359 or send an email [email protected].