I know this is a departure from my normal A Farm Wife writing but it’s something that keeps waking me up. So, after I get this down and out of my system I’ll go back to normal – at least as normal as I can muster.
Several years ago, after being part of a church for 25 years we decided to change where we worshiped. We had been a very integral part of the church. Music, women’s ministry, youth and more.
We were immersed in so many ways. Had many friends that we spent time with on a regular basis.
When we chose to worship at a different address, it was as though we fell off the face of the earth. No phone calls, no visits, no invitations. I reached out and we had a couple dinners, but it was never reciprocated so I moved on.
I’m not sure why. It felt like they were afraid to associate with us. Like they would get in trouble? Beats me but it was somewhat hurtful to think we invested so much and meant so little. Did I want them clamoring all over me and asking me to come back – nope. Not one bit. It would have been nice to continue life with them though.
I just saw this same thing happen again. Someone who had given much of their life to a church and left with a few wounds. Other than a few calls from the head pastor and wife there weren’t too many others who reached out. Even the “friends” who they associated and worked with there fell silent. A few comments on social media but nothing in depth.
Another person who left experienced the same thing. One went back and was snubbed by several. It was as if the person coming back was diseased. There were a few good people who were Jesus to them but so many, including leadership, passed by.
The Bible teaches-
Matthew 18: 12-14
12 “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? 13 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. 14 Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.
So, what does happen when the church doesn’t leave the 99?
The One gets hurt. There are wounds that go unattended.
The One walks away from a relationship with God because they see his representatives not caring.
The One become bitter which leads to sickness.
The One is lonely. They have no place to go to fill up with what they personally needed.
The One loses his place – some search for another safe place but the wounds and longing from the past hinders their ability.
The One flounders.
The 99 continually changes faces.
When this happens over and over again there becomes a flip. It’s more than one in need and 99 in great shape. It can become a handful in great shape and many in need. But instead of going out to find the one who got separated there is an extra push to bring in a new herd of 99.
They say there is power in numbers.
Jesus thought One was pretty valuable.