Summary: Often they are HELPLESS AND CONFUSED, SUSPICIOUS, FEARFUL and very dependent on family, and so when a person with Alzheimer's disease is institutionalised, they long to go home. I was reminded about Alzheimer's when I read about God's lost sheep in Matthe

Part 5 - Matthew 10:5-6 - "WHY AM I HERE? I DON'T REMEMBER?"

ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE is a debilitating disease that many people fear as they age. I know I wonder whether I have Alzheimer's at times. It is characterised by forgetting things recently learned. People with Alzheimer's have difficulty with the simplest of tasks like preparing a meal or making a telephone call. They may forget simple words or where the bathroom is. They may give away huge amounts of money or put things in unusual places like an iron in the freezer. Often they are HELPLESS AND CONFUSED, SUSPICIOUS, FEARFUL and very dependent on family, and so when a person is institutionalised, they long to go home. I was reminded about Alzheimer's when I read about God's lost sheep in Matthew 10:5-6.

Jesus said back in Matthew 9:36 (NLT) that "When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd."

As a Pastor and Chaplain I visit older people in the Shalom Centre in Sydney, some of whom are CONFUSED AND HELPLESS due to Alzheimer's disease. One old women last Friday said to me "WHY AM I HERE? I DON'T REMEMBER?" In their confusion and helplessness I encourage them to trust in Christ who is the Great Shepherd. He is omniscient - He knows the way ahead and He is omnipotent - able to accomplish great things through us despite our fraililties.

Notice that the Disciples are called and equipped to go to "GOD'S LOST SHEEP" (Matthew 10:6). It's an intriguing term because it refers to Israel, God's chosen nation. But it can also refers to me as a Gentile. Later Gentiles are also called "lost sheep" in 1 Peter 2:25. When am I God's lost sheep? I am a lost sheep when I FORGET HIS DIRECTIONS for my life, when I'm confused, suspicious and fearful, when I'm more dependent on wolves than the Shepherd. Of course I can refuse to admit that there's anything wrong with my life and that I can do well without Christ.

Satan was the first one to think that he could be independent of God. So much of the world's thinking is really based on the WOLF'S LEADERSHIP TECHNIQUES. His leadership is based on the premise that I can go it alone, do it my way and that I can be SELF-reliant. When I see myself as CONFUSED AND HELPLESS I am more likely to see the more accurate picture, God's picture, of me without Christ. I am more likely to put my life into His hands and trust Him as my Lord and Saviour when I realise my vulnerabilities without Him.

I was CREATED FOR RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST and when I refuse His authority over my life I am lost. I was CREATED TO BE DOMESTICATED, though I don't like that term. It sounds docile and that's not what I mean. I just mean I am designed to be PART OF GOD'S FLOCK, UNDER HIS AUTHORITY. A domesticated sheep that decides to go wild doesn't last long. I am a lost sheep when I think I can go it alone without Him GUIDING me and LEADING me and PROTECTING me.

I am CREATED TO BE LED BY SOMEONE. I am a lost sheep when I DON'T HAVE SHEPHERDS (leaders and teachers) but I am also a lost sheep when the shepherds I do have don't take care of me and let me wander off and get ISOLATED FROM GOD - when they ignore the truth of God's Word. Too many leaders today leave God out of the leadership manual of their lives and are MORE LIKE WOLVES THAN SHEPHERDS.

WITHOUT CHRIST I AM LOST. He is my Shepherd, my Teacher, my Lord and Saviour. My life is CONFUSED and I am HELPLESS without Him. He sends me out into the world of wolves and lost sheep today to share my faith in Christ. What I believe will change the way people see themselves. It will influence and impact their lives so that confusion gives way to clarity, helplessness gives way to "His mighty power at work within us," which is able "to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think" (Ephesians 3:20), independence gives way to obedience and dependence on the authority of my Shepherd.

God bless you Church as you put your trust in Christ as the Great Shepherd and as He sends you out into the world today to live for Him.

Pastor Ross

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