Summary: This is a modern-day story of the Parable of the Lost Sheep as reported in the Dallas Morning News, January 28, 2006.

A modern-day parable of the Lost Sheep.

In Matthew 18:12-14, Jesus tells the story of the Lost Sheep. When the man who ownes 100 sheep discovers that he has one missing, he leaves the 99 in search of the one that became lost. If he finds the lost sheep that wandered off, he brings it back to the fold. It’s a great story that tells how your Father in Heaven cares for all of his children and will actively seek and rescue those who, for what ever reason, become seperated and lost.

You may be interested to learn that the Dallas Morning News reported on January 28, 2006 what appears to be a modern-day account of the parable of the Lost Sheep.

Listen to this true story and you may gain a fresh perspective to this parable taught long ago.

Jesse Stevens was only 14 miles from home when he took a wrong turn in his SUV and soon found himself lost in the woods. It was Saturday night and Jesse had been to a funeral for an old college buddy in East Texas. On the way home, he found himself on what he thought was a service road but it became a dead-in street. It was dark and before he knew it, his SUV was off the paved road and into a wooded area. Perhaps Jesse, 77, was confused when he stepped out of his vehicle and ventured into the heavily wooded area. As he wandered about in the dark, he tripped and fell into the thick brush and tall grass. Jesse tried to get up and find his way back to his SUV when he fell again, and again. Every time he attempted to get up, he used all his strength and fell back down. After a while, he couldn’t get up again. The next morning, everything looked completely different. Jesse had walked about 150 feet from his SUV and he couldn’t see it through all the thick brush.

So there he lay, in the middle of about 20 acres of a thick forest from Saturday night, all day Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. "Every day I screamed, hoping somebody would hear me", Jesse said. Then he lost his voice. "I thought that maybe I’ll just lay here and die, and that’s the way it’s suppose to be", he said. Early Sunday morning, it rained for the first time in a few months in North Texas and Jesse was able to catch a few trickles in his mouth. He survived on rainwater.

For the next four days, Jesse could hear the cars on Interstate 20 driving by, but no one was able to hear him. There he was, still wearing shiny black shoes and his nice dark slacks that he wore to his friends funeral. "It looked like at night there was a blanket of stars over me," said Jesse. "It kind of comforted me." But he didn’t feel alone, he had faith.

Finally, on Wednesday, two bicyclists told police they noticed an SUV abandoned in the Mountain Creek Lake Park in Grand Prairie, several hundred yards south of Interstate 20. When the police ran the license plate number through a state database, they learned that the SUV belongs to Mr. Jesse Stevens, who had been reported missing.

Officer Daughtery was one of the first on the scene and he started scouring the woods on foot. About an eighth of a mile, Officer Daughtery saw a small metal shack and a body lying near it. Jesse wasn’t moving at all and the Officer didn’t think it was going to be a good outcome. When he ran toward Jesse, he remembers the old man’s first words: "Boy, am I glad to see you!" Although hungry and dehydrated, Jesse was otherwise OK. Soon, the Officers and four paramedics carried him to safety. Jesse was admitted to Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas where he is expected to make a full recovery. There is no doubt that Jesse’s family was grateful to have found their loved one safe and sound!

There are at least three spiritual observations that come out of this true story.

1. All churches today need to file a "missing

person" report. Every year, many from God’s fold

wander off and are never seen again. Perhaps they

left over a misunderstanding, or they were

confused and thought no one cared about them.

Like Jesse, someone may wander off into the

dark woods only to stumble and fall and become

trapped. Every day they could be screaming for

someone to hear them but, like Jesse, their

cries may go unnoticed.

Somebody needs to do a head count at your church

to see if there are only 99 in your fold when

there should be 100. Whose counting? Anyone?

2. We need to actively and physically search for

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