They say if you get lost in the wild, stay where you are. Wandering around makes it harder to find you, and is likely to land you farther from home rather than closer. But it’s so hard to stay put, lost and doing nothing. Wait anyway. The one who comes loves you and will bring you home.
You may wonder why anyone would come to the rescue when there are ninety-nine who never went astray. Simply put, it’s not a numbers game: the shepherd loves you and wants to bring you home.
And another thing: no matter how many didn’t get lost, home isn’t really home without you. Home comes with you as much as it awaits you.
Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to him. And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.” So he told them this parable: “Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.”
Luke 15:1-10, NRSV