My daughter Elizabeth is an animal nut; I don’t know how else to put it. The joke in our home is that Elizabeth, “loves animals and tolerates people.” Maybe not a biblical view but we’re still working on her.

Elizabeth owns 4 horses and 4 dogs, and my guess is that if she adds a few cats to the mix she can start her own reality T.V. show. If that weren’t enough, she recently picked up an abandoned Australian shepherd named appropriately, Rascal. My daughter and her pack of, now 5 dogs, joined my wife and I (including our 2 dogs) for the Thanksgiving holidays. If you’re doing the math that’s 7 dogs in a very small suburban home. The holidays bordered on chaos at times but I loved every minute of it!

In the midst of the chaos Susan and I fell in love with Rascal, the Australian shepherd.
We decided to adopt him for a month or so, at least until Elizabeth returned home for
the Christmas Holiday. Rascal was unbelievably obedient and shamed my golden retriever Bentley and our cocker spaniel, Fes. Rascal was glued to my side whenever we went out and wherever I was inside the home.

One Friday I had a bunch of errands to run. I left our dogs locked in our sun room and being the kind, compassionate man I am, I left our sliding glass door cracked open to provide some fresh air as it’s been unseasonably warm this winter. Several hours later, I’m at the gym and trying to distract myself from the pain and agony of
the treadmill, I checked my text messages. To my horror I missed 17 texts from my wife and kids! Rascal had weaseled through the cracked door and busted through the screen and ran away. My other dogs were too afraid/dumb to join Rascal in his great escape.

On the way home I began to pray. I really do believe that nothing is too big or too small for the Lord. Upon arriving home, I quickly changed and began to scour the neighborhood calling out, “Rascal, Rascal!”  Suddenly, what appeared to be a black dog on the horizon was indeed him. As I called to him, rather than come to me he ran the opposite way. The more I pursued him the faster he ran.

The scene that was already quite bazaar was about to become more so. As I tried to outrun the dog, other neighbors and passersby, began to join me in my pursuit. After some time, myself and an older couple had cornered Rascal in a vacant lot. The gentlemen yelled, “A fence surrounds the perimeter, he can’t escape us.” I thought to myself, “is this an episode of CSI or what?” The perimeter? Seriously?

As we closed in on the dog, I continued to call out to him and assure him that everything would be alright. Apparently he disagreed and busted through our “perimeter” and ran off into the night, he was gone.

I tell this story to remind you of Luke 15. In this chapter Jesus tells a series of stories, parables, about a lost sheep, a lost coin and a lost son.

In the parable of the lost sheep, we see that the shepherd leaves the ninety-nine to find the one, and when it is found the Heaven’s rejoice. Jesus isn’t just into numbers he’s into people, he’s into you. YOU matter to Jesus. Although we lose our
way at times, the good shepherd will not stop searching until you are found.

We also read of a woman who loses a coin and rips her home apart to find it. Jesus will move heaven and earth in pursuit of his lost people.

The parables end with the lost son. We see the father, waiting and longing for the return of his wayward boy. We hear the shouts of Jesus in this parable to “come home, come home!” In parables like this, the heart of God is revealed. He loves and pursues lost things. How good is God?!

By the way, Rascal the lost dog, was found 3 days later by my daughter, 10 miles from home and 3 cities away. A mother and her son found Rascal and returned him home to us. I had the opportunity to thank them and pray for them. Rascal might have been able to outrun me but he couldn’t outrun God and neither can you.