In the seventh episode of the very short episodes of Nameko Families, we see the family of anthropomorphic nameko mushrooms go on a picnic together. As part of the picnic, the family is searching the area for…mushrooms to eat. Let’s not talk about the strangeness of mushrooms eating mushrooms yet, but instead speak more to what happens in the story of this short episode.
In this episode, they each work near one another to find the mushrooms. Except for the youngest nameko, who begins to wander off on his own into the forest. He finds himself lost and falls into a ravine. When the family comes together to look at their mushroom finds, they discover their youngest is missing. What do they do? Stop what they’re doing and find their one, lost lamb. Upon finding their missing member, they rejoice and begin the picnic celebration after helping the young nameko regain his strength.
Christ tells us a parable during his ministry of a lost sheep (Matthew 18:12-14, Luke 15:1-7). In the parable, a shepherd loses one solitary lamb. He then stops what he’s doing to seek it. Upon finding the one lamb, there is much rejoicing. This and the story of the missing nameko help us to see a picture of Christ’s love for us.
In various parables and messages, Christ reminds us that he came not for the well, but for the sick. He came not for the perfect, but the imperfect. In the parable of the lost sheep, we have 99 sheep who are following to the letter exactly what the master wants. They are doing so blindly, without thinking. Stay put, he told them – so they stay put. One strays. One gets lost in the wilderness. So, the master seeks the lost lamb. In much the same way, we as individuals are lost lambs. We are lost in the wilderness of life. We do not follow after what the Lord wants us to follow. We see something shiny, we follow it to our own peril much like the youngest nameko. We see something we desire and it leads us away from our mission.
Yet, even when we fall into those pits of life, even as we fall off course – ours is a God of the lost who is there to pick us back up and save us. Much like the youngest nameko’s family, the Lord will find us when we are lost. We, however, need to be willing to accept the free gift he offers. In times of desperation, we are generally ready to accept help. The lost sheep, the lost nameko – were all ready to accept the help of others in their time of need and desperation. But, we as individuals need to realize a simple truth – we are always in need of help from the Lord, even when we do not see it.
In 1 John, the apostle points out that we all sin and those who say otherwise are liars (1 John 1:5-10). We are not perfect. In this life, we never will be. As such, we are always in a certain state of being lost. Not fully lost and apart from the Lord, but we make choices daily which draw us away from Him. Be it lust for a beautiful woman; be it jealousy over a friend’s paycheck; be it anger directed at a sibling. Whatever it may be, these sins pull us away from the Lord. We sit there in pits of our own making not always realizing we’re sitting there. Unlike the lost nameko, we do not always see our challenge – or see the desperate need we have. Let us be reminded of these needs. Let us be reminded that we need to rely on the Lord. Let us accept the Lord’s help as lost nameko’s in need of a Master to free us from the pit we placed ourselves in.