Good Shepherd, thank You for Your fiercely protective love, which laid down its life for us.
Read: Matthew 18:10-14
 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.  “What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off?  And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off.  In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.
Reflect: Do you recognize the least, the lost, and the lowest?
People fall away from churches for various reasons, the saddest being that in their time of doubt, fear, shame, or other struggle no one seemed to notice. In what ways are you sensitive to others’ needs? How can your church create a culture of openness about personal vulnerabilities?
Church leaders must prioritize activating the church here and not see this hands-on pastoral care as competing with the roles of teaching, praying, fulfilling corporate vision, realizing strategies for growth, and seeing the kingdom impact the wider community. Jesus is clear in this master-level class on servant leadership that Christians are to “carry each other’s burdens” (Gal. 6:2) and treat the weak as more precious than those already safe in community (10,13). The heart of the Gospel is most fully on display in pastoral care. Mercy and restoration (12-14), when applied to the life of a struggling person, can have visible and far-reaching effects for God’s kingdom.
How has a personal spiritual breakthrough enabled you to help someone else?
Do you have an eye out for those who are vulnerable, outcast, or needing protection? Ask God for discernment.
Jesus, Your heart went out to the lost sheep and You took action. Help me do the same in the power of Your Spirit.