In my post about Fritz running away, a freind mentioned the Shepard who leaves the 99, to find the one who is lost.
The conundrum is Fritz wasn’t lost, he was running.
We were in the wrong, going after him. The difference between the lost sheep and the Prodigal son, is the key.
A lost sheep wonders away, he is not paying attention to the Shepard. There is no malice, no thought of rebellion, no desire to separate himself.
He just realizes he is not where he belongs.
The Shepard, understands, and seeks him, to bring him back to the flock.
The Prodigal, deliberately leaves the household, the Father, does not go after him, but watches for his return. He understands the need of the son to find his place in the world.
When the son realizes his mistake, he comes back to the Father and repents of his sin.
The Father receives with open arms, as He did the lost sheep. The difference is in the one who is either lost, or in hiding.
Fritz was hiding, looking for his own place in the world, we should not have chased him, but waited for his return. He did not wonder away, but ran.
He was not ready to come home, so he needed to be caught, not welcomed into the car.
Lord I pray, when I stray, I am just not paying attention, that I not be hiding, or running from You.
Lord, keep me close. I need You. Amen