Right on time, the ocean bound cruise ship, choc full of happy passengers, cast off from her moorings in the harbour and headed out to the open sea through the estuary. There were 10 glorious days ahead for the pleasure hungry occupants of every cabin and the merriment started right away, and even before they had entered the shipping lanes.
It was a good start for everyone, except Billy. He got a bit merry too fast, leant on the safety rail just a little too hard, and being a very tall specimen there was nothing to stop his headlong fall overboard into the angry waves below. Fortunately Billy’s pals saw what happened and the cry “man overboard” went ringing through the ship and into the captain’s ears. The captain was a man of much experience, and many successful voyages behind him. This was the last thing he needed, and anyway what were the chances of bringing him out alive? Served him right. He should have known better than to get so drunk so early. They had just left port after all and I have another 2,000 well behaved passengers to think about. So, weighing it all up the Captain decided to just keep on sailing. What? Of course he didn’t. What a crazy idea, after all every life counts, no matter the state they get into.
Happily, the captain turns the mighty liner around and lifeboats deployed. Before too long Billy was found clinging on to nothing but dear life. He thanks the crew of the lifeboat for pulling him to safety, he thanks the staff waiting to get him inside to dry off. He thanks the doctor for making sure he was ok. He even makes his way to the bridge and personally thanks the captain, but although he doesn’t know any of them, he is grateful for life. His life. Then to top it all off, the captain and crew arrange a special feast to celebrate being able to save Billy.
So it is with you and Jesus. When you stray away from the fold, He will do everything in His power to get you back. Once He finds you cold and tired, He lifts you onto His shoulders and carries you to safety inside the sheepfold where you belong. The load becomes His, not yours. It will come as no surprise that there is much rejoicing in heaven on the return of every single sinner who returns. In the words of the old gospel song, “Oh what a Saviour!”
And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbours, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Luke 14:6 ESV