The Good Shepherd left 99 sheep to go after the 1. Those 99 sacrificed on behalf of the 1. Private James F. Ryan was one man and yet 8 men went and sacrificed on his behalf to rescue him. Watching the movie "Saving Private Ryan," made me wonder about the Good Shepherd. I think that when most of us hear the story of the Good Shepherd we think about the Shepherd, sacrificing His life for His lost sheep. What we don't usually take note of - or at least I don't - is the fact that the other 99 had to sacrifice their Shepherd for that time.
I know that following Christ involves sacrifices, but sometimes I wonder how much? How far is too far to go for someone? How much is too much to give to someone?
In the movie, Captain John Miller said something interesting about all this. I couldn't find the exact quote, and the movie already went back to the library, but he basically asked how much his mission was worth.
(For those of you who may not know the story line, Captain Miller and 7 other men were sent on a mission right after landing at Normandy on D-Day, to go find a Private James Ryan who was being sent home due to the death of his 3 brothers. Ryan was part of the 101st Airborne whose whereabouts were unknown, other than the fact that he was somewhere around Normandy.)
Miller said that usually when he lost men, he knew it was to save the lives of 10 to 20 times more people. Then their lives were worth it because it was saving so many more people's lives. In the mission that he was given, 8 men were risking their lives for the sake of 1.
More than half of those 8 men died, but Private Ryan was saved. - Was it worth it?
When the Good Shepherd went after the lost sheep, 99 sacrificed having a Shepherd and a leader. - Was it worth it?
Well in these cases, yes, it was worth it. But what if the sheep is really a wolf in sheep’s clothing? What if it's a goat? What if you go after it so far that you get lost and become another lost sheep?
Are we not supposed to go after the sheep at all? Do we leave that to the Shepherd and just wait bleating away until they return?
Either way there are sacrifices. I don't have answers to any of my questions. I just know that those 99 sheep had no Shepherd for a while. The real issue I'm dealing with is how far do we go for someone before we have to give them up?
The men that went after Ryan did it hoping that he would live a good life, do great things. Because he did, their sacrifices were not in vain. But, what if he had lived a horrible life? What if he became a thief or criminal? Would their lives have been worth it then?
I don't know.....
How far is too far?