Jesus Gives the Parable of the Lost Sheep

Luke 15:1–7

1 Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him.
2 And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.
3 And he spake this parable unto them, saying,
4 What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?
5 And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.
6 And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.
7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

President N. Eldon Tanner said:

“Let us as leaders, and all of us, always remember and never forget that everyone is looking for happiness. Everyone wants to be happy. It is our great privilege and responsibility to show [a lost sheep] the way to happiness and success. Often some little thing, some slight, or a misunderstanding causes one to become inactive. There are those who are discouraged and inactive because they have felt neglected or have been offended; or they are guilty of some transgression of their own, and as a result feel that they are outcasts or that there is no place for them, that they are not worthy or wanted. They feel that they are lost and cannot be forgiven. We as leaders must let them know and make them know that we love them, and help them to understand that the Lord loves them, and that the Lord will forgive them if they will truly repent. . . .

“The Lord gave us the parable of the Lost Sheep, and I should like to read it because I think it is important:

“‘Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him.

“‘And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.

“‘And he spake this parable unto them, saying,

“‘What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?

“‘And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.

“‘And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.

“‘I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance’ (Luke 15:1–7).

“Every bishop, every stake president, every leader of any organization knows someone who needs attention, and you and we have the responsibility of going to find that lost sheep. If we had knowledge tonight that some young man was lost, if anyone knew of someone who was drowning, we wouldn’t hesitate one minute to do all in our power to save that individual, to save the one who was lost, the one who was drowning, the one who was in need of our help. These young men and these older men who are inactive in the Church, who have strayed away from the Church because of inactivity or for any reason, need our help and need our attention just as much. They need our prayers and our consideration, and nothing will bring us greater joy and happiness than to see one come back into activity.

“By saving one, we might save a family. We might even save a generation. By losing one, we may lose not only the individual but a family and his posterity. The responsibility is great.”

(“Search for the Wanderers,” Ensign, June 1971, 59.)

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