The Ninety-Nine

A story is told
     of a man with some sheep.
And as he was counting
     he just couldn’t sleep.
For there was one missing,
     he looked all around.
But the sheep that was lost,
     no where could be found.

So he gathered the safe sheep
     and left them behind.
And searched with the hope
     that the lost one he’d find.
It’s good that we focus
     on seeking the lost.
To go out and find them
     no matter the cost.

But I often wonder
     just what those sheep thought.
The ninety-nine safe ones
     who did what they ought.
That is the story
     that’s more about me.
When I’m safe in God’s fold
     how far do I see?

I think far too often
     that those in the church.
Get bent out of shape
     and feel left in the lurch.
When the shepherds do leave them
     all safe in the fold.
To go out and rescue
     the lost from the cold.

It’s all about me,
     are my needs being met?
I’m very important,
     now don’t you forget.
Don’t think about their needs,
     just focus on mine.
Why search for the one
     when you have ninety-nine?

I hope when you read that,
     you know it’s all wrong.
Our job is to help
     the lost to belong.
There are many people
     who wander in sin.
Let’s do what we can
     to help bring them in.

When we are living
     safe in God’s care.
Let’s turn our gaze outward.
     to the lost that are there.
When we huddle together
     with our ninety-nine.
Look to the hurting
     and know they’re not fine.

So will you be happy
     and feel satisfied?
That you’re safe in the fold
     while the lost sheep has died?
I pray that you realize
     there’s work yet to do.
That the lost will find Jesus
     as they see Him in you!

So let’s all get busy
     and look for the one.
Who is wounded and hurting,
     with no place to run.
Help them see Jesus
     so they’ll say, “He’s mine!”
And enter the fold
     with us “ninety-nine”.

© 2015 by Tom Lemler

I’ve been keeping an eye on my poem count, thinking I would like to come up with something special for my 100th poem. I’m sure God will still give me something special for poem number 100, but first he gave me The Ninety-Nine! After I finished poem number 98 earlier tonight, I finished up my day and went to bed only to have this poem show up in my mind centered around what will the 99 do while there is one yet lost. And wouldn’t you know it, it is a story using sheep as an illustration! I”m guessing that most of my readers are part of the 99 who are safe in the fold. Do you care, or even think, about the one who is lost and/or missing? I pray that we rejoice in our salvation with our fellow “ninety-nine” while doing our part to find the one.

In prayer,
Tom

4 thoughts on “The Ninety-Nine

  1. I hesitated to write this but. . . . .My husband works specifically with the “lost people”. Many often target local churches from which to beg despite the fact that their needs and wants are often well met. One time he found a poem in a left behind backpack. A line in it read “We prey on them, as they pray for us”. I advocate to do good works, of course, we are supposed to. Just be careful out there! Wolves in sheep’s clothing on dangerous drugs that cause violence. Keep 97 praying for you while your out there looking for the lost sheep and take a couple of sheep with you. Love in Christ.

  2. Thanks for going ahead and writing what you did! There are people that many of us are not equipped or trained to deal with and we must be very careful. There are also our co-workers, friends, family, etc that are relatively “safe” lost people that we don’t always share Jesus with as we should for a variety of reasons.

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