A parable about a young and inexperienced teacher and sheep.
In her second year, a young teacher began her class by sharing the few rules that she had to keep the chaos to a minimum and creativity and participation to a maximum.
One of the rules was very simple. Don’t make the teacher mad. It wasn’t easy to make her mad, but it could happen, and the teacher was well aware of this weakness, so she was very diligent about letting students know where the line was.
But one young lady pushed the boundaries, and the teacher did indeed get mad. The young lady was sent to the principal’s office to await who knew what.
It took about 30 seconds before the teacher realized that she had lost something in the altercation. A proverbial sheep who liked to wander even though the territory was dangerous. So she went to find the student.
Her student was upset and crying (not surprisingly). So the teacher sat them both down, and feeling more like the sheep than the shepherd, she apologized.
Frequently in parables, we so often find ourselves in one role or another, but rarely in both. One of the takeaways from the parables of the lost sheep, lost coin, and prodigal son is the searching, searching for boundaries, searching for open fields, searching for freedom, searching for forgiveness. That is the perhaps the thing that the older brother doesn’t understand.
In some strange way, we must be both losers and finders. That is how we come to know the depth of the love of God in and around us, especially through forgiveness.