Not Just a Statistic

Matt. 18:10-14

10 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.

12 What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray?

13 And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. 14 So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.  (Matt. 18:10-14 ESV)


         We have heard the advice before:  “Don’t be a statistic!” 

It is a reminder usually given to a person to be careful and avoid something bad from happening, such as death due to Covid virus or a car accident.  Governments usually categorize deaths as to cause and the number of deaths for each cause added up. For planning purposes the name of the person who died does not matter.  And yet the death of a person brings deep pain and grief for the person’s family and loved ones. 

         In the Parable of the Lost Sheep Jesus uses some numbers to communicate a message.  He tells of one sheep that has gone astray out of a flock of 100.  A sheep can get lost as it seeks grass and water, or runs away from a threat.  It can get separated from the flock and lose its way back.

A responsible shepherd will leave the 99 other sheep and look for the lost sheep.  When he finds it he is filled with great joy.  He would invite his friends to join him in the celebration (Lk 15:3-7). 

Sometimes we behave like sheep.  In our life journey we may  get too busy with our work that we forget the important things in life such as time with our children, family, or faithful friends.  We may pursue goals that take our eyes away from God.  We may just keep on going and not notice that we have gone too far.  We can get lost.    

Like sheep we go astray.  But our Shepherd Jesus does not want any of His sheep to perish.  It does not matter whether we are teenagers, or in the middle of life, or have lived long.   Jesus will search for each one of us no matter how far away we have gone.  He loves us so much that He was  willing to accept death on the Cross and then rise from death so that He can bring us back to Himself. 

For Jesus we will never be just a statistic.  He loves us as individual persons.  He shares our joys and challenges.  He knows each of us by name.  He is our Shepherd who looks after us. 


Prayer:  Dear Jesus, thank You for searching for me when I go astray and bringing me back to Your sheepfold.  Continue to watch over me as I live this life You have given me.  Amen.

Reflection:  Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (John 10:27). What  things help you clearly hear the voice of Jesus?  What things hinder you from doing so? What can you do about it?

Photo by Ulysse Pointcheval on Unsplash

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *