Tuesday, March 17, 2020
My college roommate was a business major. He studied accounting, human resource management, and various other business courses. When he would study in our room, I could understand most of what he was talking about … except economics. I just never understood anything about economics.
In this text, I have cause to believe that I might take a bit after Jesus in this regard. Jesus begins by telling a parable about a shepherd who has a hundred sheep. Then he tells about one of the sheep that is lost. The shepherd then leaves the ninety-nine sheep “on the mountains” to go search for the one. He tells this story like he thinks he is going to have a great hearing, and he asks, “What do you think?”
I, for one, think it’s a great way to end up with only one sheep (assuming he finds the one that is lost). Jesus, this is a terrible idea. The mountains would imply the presence of predators ranging from mountain lions to wolves. Sheep abandoned by their shepherd in this kind of environment would be vulnerable.
But Jesus has a lesson. Throughout this chapter in Matthew, Jesus is talking repeatedly about these “little ones.” He uses the term to describe both children and people who are otherwise vulnerable. He knows those who are vulnerable often fall prey to the whims of the larger group … especially when the vulnerable have been marginalized or harmed by not fully belonging to the dominant group. Jesus stands in solidarity with the weak, the poor, the marginalized … the “little ones.” This isn’t about a sinner who repents. This is about God who seeks out the one who is lost and trampled under foot by the dominant culture.
In my journey through life and faith, I am convinced that it will serve me better to be with Jesus out looking for the “little one” who is vulnerable than it is for me to be huddling with the flock on the mountain! This is what God’s economy is all about!
Lord, teach me to to live in your economy of great love. Amen.