“What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying?”
– Matthew 18:12
I recently got a tattoo and I have been asked what it means. Due to the length of the meaning of my tattoo, I have decided that it would be best to write a blog about it.
Don’t be Satisfied with your 99
A large part of the meaning behind my tattoo has to do with my calling into ministry. That being said, I have seen a multitude of pastors who are satisfied with their 99. These are ministries that are “big enough” according to the pastor’s standards. As a future pastor, this tattoo is a reminder that ministry is not about the 99 people that you have going to your church or the 99 people you have in your youth group, ministry is about the one person who isn’t going to church or the one student that’s never even heard of a youth group. Ministry is not about numbers, it’s about souls.
Pursue the One
Any pastor can tell you that there are people not going to church. I know that not everyone is a Christian, you know that not everyone is a Christian, and pastors know that not everyone is a Christian. The question is what are you doing about it? It’s easy for a pastor to stand in the pulpit on a Sunday and acknowledge “those sinners out there” but do you ever go out and pursue them? I’ve seen so many youth and adults who are broken, depressed, or just not believers and the saddest part is not their lack of faith, but the lack of pursuit from the church.
Go to the Mountains
Jesus’ story would mean almost nothing if the pursuit for the lost sheep was easy. If Jesus were to ask who would leave the ninety-nine and go a couple feet away to seek the one straying, it would be an easy answer. Of course, I would love to just walk a couple feet to go get my lost sheep. Jesus asks who would go to the mountains to find the one who fell astray.
Too many times, we have pastors and churches who refuse to go to the “mountains” to pursue the ones who have gone astray. I’m not saying that I want pastors flocking to bars and night clubs. I’m saying that youth pastors should be in the schools with their youth and they should meet their friends and get to know them on a personal level. Senior pastors should go beyond their offices and meet people in their communities and build relationships. You can’t minister to people that you don’t know and don’t relate to.
In short, this tattoo represents my heart for the youth. It’s a reminder and a commitment to a ministry beyond the numbers and an outreach beyond a building. It is also a call to action for our churches and pastors. There’s always one who has fallen astray, the question is, what are you doing about it?