Text Version | Afrikaans | Italian
Excitement filled the house as the family was preparing for a trip to the big city. They had all been anxiously waiting for this day to come. There would be so many fun things to see and do, AND they would even be staying in that b-i-g hotel that looked like it reached all the way to the sky. It didn't seem like it would ever happen, but FINALLY the suitcases were loaded in the trunk and the children scrambled into the backseat of the car.
Of course during the entire ride, everyone was shouting out special places to visit and things to see and do.
“Let's feed the ducks in the park.”
“Remember the glass elevator?”
“The dinosaurs at the museum!”
“Shopping! Shopping! Shopping!”
“I think the taxi ride was the best!”
With all the chatter, it seemed they were there in no time. The luggage was unloaded and put on a cart to be taken to their room. They were “ooh-ing” and “ah-ing” at the lovely chandeliers and the huge statue in the lobby. And yes, they even got to ride the glass elevator up to their room!
After a story and prayer, the children were tucked snuggly into bed. It was SO hard to get to sleep because of all the excitement.
They were all awake bright and early the next morning, and after having a good breakfast in the hotel dining room, they decided to walk down the street to the park, which wasn't very far away. “Now remember, we all need to stay together. Don't wander off, and don't go into any buildings alone,” Dad warned as they were leaving the revolving doors of the hotel.
The store windows were all so lovely; it was hard not to linger. The aroma of the freshly baked bread caught their attention as they walked by. They passed a T-shirt shop, and a restaurant. There was a jewelry store and a beauty shop. Then Mom said, “If you don't mind, I would like to go into this gift shop. It looks like there are some things here I might like to buy.”
“Well then, while you are shopping there, the rest of us can go into this sporting goods store to look around,” Dad said with a grin. They checked to make sure their watches were set properly, and agreed upon the time to meet together again outside the store.
Mom enjoyed her time at the gift shop and bought something special for each one. Dad and the children had a good time at the sporting goods store even though they didn't purchase anything. When the time came, they met on the sidewalk outside the store.
There was a HUGE problem…
someone was missing!
Little Kristy, the youngest, wasn't where she was supposed to be. Dad and the other children went back into the sporting goods store to look for her. Mom went back into the gift shop thinking she might have gone in there. When they came out, they still hadn't found her.
They walked down the street looking in every store.
They asked every cashier.
They talked to the security guard at the hotel.
They even talked to a police officer.
No one had seen little Kristy.
Frantically, they searched the other side of the street, in and out…store after store. Mom and Dad were more worried than they had ever been. WHERE could she have gone? WHERE could she be?
THEN, they heard a whimper. It was coming from the direction of the toy store. Could it be? Was it Kristy? Without wasting a moment, they ran closer to the sound of the crying child and found that, sure enough, it was little Kristy. Mom and Dad both ran up to her and threw their arms around her. They hugged her tightly. They kissed her on her tear-streaked cheeks. They were so glad they had finally found her. Cheerfully, they completed their walk to the park that day.
Jesus gathered a group of people around Him and wanted to tell them a story showing how much He loved them. This story is very similar to the one Jesus told.
Imagine that you are a shepherd and you have one hundred sheep to care for. You love those sheep. Every day you take them out to the pastures and help them find the best grass to eat. You take them to the stream and make sure they have clean, fresh water to drink. In the spring you sheer their wool (somewhat like a haircut) so they don't get too hot in the summer. And in the fall you let their wool grow so they are nice and warm in the winter.
You are with those sheep so much that you have given each one of them a name, and each one of those sheep recognizes your voice. There may be other shepherds in the same pastures, but when you call your sheep, they come right to you. They don't go with the other shepherds.
Every evening when you bring your sheep home to the barn for the night, you call each one by name; you might even give them each a little hug and say goodnight. You count to make sure you haven't missed one.
Then one night you are counting “…95…96…97…98…99….”
Ninety-nine? Only 99? Where is one hundred?
Then you look around to find out exactly which one is missing. “Curly. Where is Curly? I thought she was right with me.” You look around to see if maybe she is hiding in a corner and you just didn't see her. Then you look outside. No Curly. Finally, you realize the only thing you can do is go back to the pasture to see if she is still there. You get your lantern ready because it is already dark outside. You stumble over the rocks that are in the path. Strange that you never noticed those rocks in the daytime. You get to the pasture and begin to call: “Curlyyyy…Curlyyyy… . Where are you Curly…?” This is really odd. Curly always comes running when she hears your voice. But not THIS time. Curly has wandered off, and she can't hear you.
You have to walk farther than normal. You climb the hill and struggle over rocks and branches, all the time calling out, “Curlyyyy…Curlyyyy….”
Then…you hear it — just a small sound: “Baa — baa.” Hurriedly you go a little farther. The sound becomes louder: “BAA — BAA.” Just a little bit farther! Then you hear it loud and clear: “BAA — BAA.” There under a twisted shrub you find Curly.
“Oh, Curly! I am so happy to find you!” Gently picking up Curly, you give her a big hug and she gives you a sheep kiss right on your cheek. She is as happy to see you as you are to see her.
Joyfully, you carry Curly back home and put her in the barn with the other sheep. Then you run to tell the other shepherds, “I found her! I found Curly! I found my sheep that was lost!”
Have you ever gotten lost? How does it feel to get lost or how do you think it would feel? You don’t know where you are and how to get where your parents and home are, right? Have you ever felt that you didn’t know where God was and how to get to Him? Why do you think you felt like that?
[After discussion:] Jesus was telling the people that each person is like the sheep that was lost. We have all sinned and done bad things that we weren't supposed to do. Sin causes us to be separated from God, but Jesus loved us so much that He was willing to give his life to save us and reunite us with God. He wants us to quit doing sinful things. He wants us to love Him as much as He loves us.
When we choose to love Jesus, we will want to follow Him like the sheep that follow the shepherd. We can learn to know his voice by learning the things He says in the Bible, which is his Word. Jesus said that there is great joy in Heaven when just one person decides to love Him and live for Him.
Would you like to do that now?
Dear Jesus, I am glad that You love me so much
that You gave your life for me. I want to accept
You, and I want You to be my shepherd. I want to
love You and live for You. Help me to learn to
listen to your Voice by listening to your Word, the
Bible. Help me to obey You and only do things that
will make You happy. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Remember to listen to God's Voice by listening to his Word, the Bible.
1. Why would the shepherd leave the 99 sheep to look for just one?
2. How can you learn to hear God's voice?
BIBLE MEMORY VERSE:
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me;
And I give unto them eternal life” (John 10:27-28).
CAN YOU FIND THIS STORY IN THE BIBLE?
JUST FOR FUN:
FOLLOW THE SECRET CODE
A=1 C=2 E=3 H=4 I=5 M=6 O=7 P=8 R=9 S=10 V=11 Y=12
6 12 / 10 4 3 3 8 / 4 3 1 9 / 6 12 / 11 7 5 2 3
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