Random and not so random musings from a 5th generation NE Missourian who became a 1st generation Episcopalian. Let the good times roll!

Luke 15:1-10

15Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to him. 2And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.” 3So he told them this parable: 4“Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? 5When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices. 6And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ 7Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. 8“Or what woman having ten silver coins, if she loses one of them, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? 9When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ 10Just so, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

Although there are certainly some of the parables in the Gospels that leave me scratching my head and going "Huh?????" (like the one for this upcoming Sunday), this one is a refreshing no-brainer in my world.

Although I don't like to talk about my job on this blog, I will break my own rule for a change. To make a long story short, the most important part of my job is to make sure that "your specimen belongs to you." If you were to have a biopsy, and it was sent to my lab, the absolutely, positively, most important thing that happens is that container with your biopsy and the requisition form are both labeled with your name and patient info, and when the report with the diagnosis of your biopsy is turned out, I have to be 125% confident that the diagnosis is rendered is "your" diagnosis. The "acceptable margin of error" is zero. Period. End of discussion. Render a diagnosis that isn't "yours" and harm comes to you because of it, you can collect the check. That is a res ipso loquitur, no free pass, do not pass go, do not collect $200, medical mistake. Period.

If 99 biopsies come to our lab and one is not labeled correctly, or didn't come with the specimen container, we are not in a position to say, "Oh, no biggie. We're 99% compliant, that's an acceptable error." No way. Our lab is going to call and hunt and dig until we figure out the problem. That is simply because someone had a piece of them removed and is waiting, sometimes very nervously, for the results. The 99 okay ones do not matter, the ONE is just as important.

So I understand perfectly why God searches for the "one lost sheep." I fully comprehend the obsession of it, because in this instance, ONE matters as much as many. That concept is counterintuitive to our society. We have the Star Trek movie attitude about it. (Remember the death of Spock in the second Star Trek feature film? He told Jim his death was okay "because the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one.") We tend to hold to that notion. We make sacrifices in life because we see the needs of others as outweighing our own "needs of one." We do it all the time and we are taught that it is a good thing to do--and mostly, it is.

Yet, in God's way of doing business, the needs of the one are as equally important as the needs of the many. I don't know about you, but I always have a hard time accepting this. There is a part of me that feels that I am not worthy of so much fuss and bother. That part of my mind tells God, "Oh, go deal with someone who needs Your services more than me; I'll take care of it. I know I could use some attention from you but oh, hell, I'll get by. I don't really deserve it, anyway."

But really, accepting that premise is incongruous with what I would do for others. If someone said, "Oh, don't bother looking for my specimen. It was just a little mole; it didn't look like anything scary for cancer, I just wanted it off so my face would look better," I would not find that an acceptable reason to stop searching for that lost biopsy. So why would I find it acceptable to let God stop looking? Yet there is that part of me that does.

Sometimes, I think it stems from our inability to accept the divine nature in ourselves. We get so steeped in our tendency to see us from the "sinful side of ourselves." Our flaws stand out worse than our good points. Sometimes, I think that the closer we feel to "whole" the bigger our flaws stand out. I think of it like having a nearly complete set of coins in a collector booklet. If I had a nearly complete set of mint state Morgan silver dollars, and lacked one for the complete set, I would not be thinking about the other fine coins in my collection--I would be obsessing over the one coin I lack. Then, even if I HAD the complete set, I would move that obsession to the next level. I would decide which coin in the set is in the relatively "worst shape" and I would improve on it, and on and on we'd go. The obsession to fix the "flaw" overtakes the joy of the beauty of the collection.

But the fact remains--God, even though he has great love of his collection, still has the same obsession we do, he still goes over and above and out of his way to find the one that he lacks. We should accept this and rejoice that we are simply "that special."



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Kirksville, Missouri, United States
I'm a longtime area resident of that quirky and wonderful place called Kirksville, MO and am wondering what God has hiding round the next corner in my life.

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