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COMFORT FROM THREATS ON THE SHOULDERS OF THE SHEPHERD ~ CAN YOU COMFORT OTHERS WITH THIS HOPE? – ????????


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COMFORT FROM THREATS ON THE SHOULDERS OF THE SHEPHERD ~ CAN YOU COMFORT OTHERS WITH THIS HOPE?

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A Lost Sheep 

To teach his listeners Jehovah’s view of those who have strayed, Jesus gave two brief illustrations. One was about a shepherd. Jesus said: “What man of you with a hundred sheep, on losing one of them, will not leave the ninety-nine behind in the wilderness and go for the lost one until he finds it? And when he has found it he puts it upon his shoulders and rejoices. And when he gets home he calls his friends and his neighbors together, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, because I have found my sheep that was lost.’ I tell you that thus there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner that repents than over ninety-nine righteous ones who have no need of repentance.”—Luke 15:4-7

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What does the shepherd do when he finally finds the lost sheep? “He puts it upon his shoulders.” (Luke 15:5) What a touching and telling detail! The sheep may have wandered for days and nights through unfamiliar territory, perhaps even being exposed to the threat of stalking lions... No doubt the sheep is weakened by a lack of food. It is simply too frail to overcome in its own strength the hurdles it will encounter on the way back to the fold. Therefore, the shepherd bends down, gently lifts up the sheep, and carries it across all obstacles back to the flock. How can we reflect the care shown by this shepherd?

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In this first illustration, Jesus says that the shepherd will “go for the lost one.” The shepherd takes the initiative and makes a deliberate effort to find the missing sheep. Hardship, danger, and distance do not hold him back. On the contrary, the shepherd persists “until he finds it.”—Luke 15:4

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Similarly, reaching out to a person in need of encouragement often requires that the stronger one take the initiative. 

Christian elders, in particular, have the responsibility to “strengthen the weak hands . . . and make the knees that are wobbling firm” and to “say to those who are anxious at heart: ‘Be strong. Do not be afraid.’” (Isaiah 35:3, 4; 1 Peter 5:1, 2) 

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Note, however, that Paul’s admonition to “speak consolingly to the depressed souls” and to “support the weak” was not given to elders only. Rather, Paul’s words were directed to the entire “congregation of the Thessalonians.” (1 Thessalonians 1:1; 5:14) 

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Reaching out to those who are weak is thus a task for all Christians. Like the shepherd in the illustration, each Christian should be moved to “go for the lost one.” Of course, this is done most effectively in cooperation with the elders. Could you take some steps to assist a weak one in your congregation?

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-w03 2/1 p. 16 par. 15 “Have Love Among Yourselves”

 

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