What If The One…?

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Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep. I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.” (Luke 15:3-7)

Have you ever looked back at things in your past and perceived them differently than you did when your past was your present? I have done much of that regarding ministry in the last three years.

During my years of pastoring, I often felt pressure to grow a larger church. You know, keep the numbers up! To some of my colleagues, large numbers equaled success. Honestly, I viewed it differently. I wanted to reach individuals that were outside the four walls of the church. Some folks were surprisingly critical of that- especially when I became involved in prison ministry.

In Luke 15, Jesus was criticized by religious people simply because He was often seen with sinners- the very people He came to save. You see, Jesus wasn’t trying to build a castle for Himself- He was trying to build the Kingdom of God. In Scripture we can see that this meant one individual at a time. Let’s consider some of them.

There was Bartimaeus- the blind beggar. There was Zacchaeus- the despised tax collector. There was the woman at the well- living in sin and confused about worship. There was Peter- the impulsive, quick-tempered disciple. The list is endless. These people were not important by society’s standards. Yet their lives influenced many people by their later actions or simply by having their stories recorded in our Bibles. What about the influence we can have on the individuals with whom we associate?

Sometimes it seems we are not helping very many. If success is measured by numbers it can be a discouraging endeavor. But, let us ask this question: What if the one…?

What if the one really changes and totally commits to serving God? What if the one wins more people to God than we could ever hope to reach? What if the one does something extraordinary with their life? What if the one…?

You see, the ninety-nine sheep were important, but the one was lost. We may be dealing with many people we consider important, but there is one who is lost. Again- what if the one?

Dave Snyder is an Ordained Bishop with the Church of God – Cleveland, Tennessee. Before entering the ministry on a full-time basis, he was a school teacher. He also coached middle school basketball for eight years.

Dave and his wife, Sara, have two children  — Craig and Karen. They also have one ten year old granddaughter  — Breanna. 

Dave and Sara pastored in West Virginia for thirty-six years. Sara is now retired from the banking industry, and Dave is retired from pastoring. However, Dave currently serves as prison Chaplain for the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation. 

Writing essays, articles, and devotionals is a real passion for Dave. He also enjoys playing musical instruments and singing.

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