"There was a man (for purposes of this parable, he is the cowboy) who went riding with two of his horses, Sally and Dixie. The latter got spooked by a slipped saddle and set off aimlessly for a distant riding trail, dragging her saddle, bridle, reigns and all the rest of her fair share of the inheritance with her. She soon succumbed to wild living in a strange land.
Immediately the cowboy begged for her to return. He called her name many times. He, riding on the back of the obedient horse Sally, began to search. They, and other loving people, searched diligently into the night, but to no avail.
Again, the following morning, the cowboy and the obedient horse were out before first light searching high and low for her. They searched well into the night again on the second day.
On the third day, the cowboy once again set out. This time on foot to give the obedient child, er, horse, a break. But the cowboy took no break. He walked till his feet hurt. He went without meals. He climbed every mountain and forged every stream. (Hey, that would make a great song for a musical . . . ) But, alas, Dixie would not be coming home with him.
By the fourth day, the cowboy was losing hope. He was desperate, but still determined.
"But while she was still a long way off, the cowboy got a phone call and was filled with compassion for her; he ran to his home, hitched up the horse trailer and drove off to where she was. (And though it has yet to happen for a couple more hours, when he sees her he will undoubtedly throw his arms around her and kiss her with the same mouth he kisses me. . .)
“And the cowboy will say to his friends and family, 'Quick! Bring the best saddle pad and put it on her. Put some corn in a bucket and bring a brush for her coat. Break open a new bale of hay! Let's have a feast and celebrate. For this Mustang of mine was lost but is now found.' So they will celebrate and there will be great rejoicing in their household and the households of horse-people everywhere.”
. . . for those of you not following my little parable, the cowboy and some friends went riding on Saturday and Dixie has been missing for 100+ hours in LBL. This afternoon she has been found some 20 miles from where she was last seen! And though I am NOT, repeat, am NOT, a horse-person, it has given me a renewed compassion for things which are lost that need to be found . . .
Luke 15:3-7 "Suppose one of you had a hundred sheep and lost one. Wouldn't you leave the 99 and go after the lost one until you found it? When found, you can be sure you would put it across your shoulders, rejoicing, and when you got home call in your friends and neighbors, saying, 'Celebrate with me! I've found my lost sheep!' Count on it—there's more joy in heaven over one sinner's rescued life than over 99 good people in no need of rescue."
Thanks to all of you who worried, who took flyers to post, who made phone calls to friends, and especially to Philip and Beth who spent hours of their own time searching for the lost sheep, er, horse. You guys are the best!