It’s one of the most famous parables in the Bible, the man who left the 99 sheep in open pasture to search for the one who was lost.
It was probably not a good business plan. A marketing consultant would point out that commercial success lies with the many not the few, certainly not the one. And the searcher obviously didn’t rely on numbers for his sense of self-worth. “I protected 99 sheep” sounds a lot more admirable than “I found one who had been lost.”
I call it the tyranny of the many – the tendency I have to minimize small successes: spending a whole afternoon with one hurting person, speaking to a small group, selling a single book. Yet, the man in the parable (obviously a picture of God) throws as big a party over the one he rescued as he would have over the many. In fact, bigger.
According to Jesus, “I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents, than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance” (Luke 15:7).
Dear God, open my eyes and heart today to small things. Keep me from the tyranny of the many.