The length of your absence will not affect His excitement. When you arrive, He will rejoice that his lost sheep is finally home.

Working with kids I tend to find myself preparing activities with odd supplies. On one particular Sunday morning last Fall, I was opening jars of baby food for a game. I had too many things in my hands at once and I dropped a jar of baby food and it splattered everywhere. I began to throw everything away that was contaminated with the stinky, vegetable flavored goop.
The morning went on as usual. When church was over and I reached into my purse to find my keys to go home, I froze. I realized I had misplaced my keys somewhere in the church. I began to look in all the usual spots: the bathroom, the kitchen, and all the classrooms. I could not find my lost keys anywhere. After searching for over an hour, some friends graciously offered to give us a ride home.
The next morning, I started to search for my keys hoping that a good nights sleep would help me have a clear mind to remember where I left them. It didn’t help. I searched most of the morning and received no luck. I was frustrated I couldn’t find them and was worried that I would have to pay quite a bit of money to replace my electric key fob.
Later that day, I was looking over the security camera footage hoping that I would catch a glimpse of where the keys were. While I was watching the footage of me spilling the baby food and cleaning up my mess, I noticed that I threw something valuable away with the food: my keys! I rushed to the trash can and started to dig. I got so excited when I saw my shiny keys at the very bottom of the trash can. It didn’t even matter that they were covered in day old baby food. My lost keys were finally found.
I felt I may have experienced a microscopic glimpse of what Jesus feels when a lost member of His family comes home. While Jesus is talking about finding His lost sheep (hint: the sheep is us!) in Luke 15:5-7, He says:
“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.’”
If you feel that you are a lost member of Jesus’ family, Jesus is eagerly waiting for you to come home. Nothing you have done will revoke your invitation to His table. The length of your absence will not affect His excitement. When you arrive, He will rejoice that his lost sheep is finally home.

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