On Saturday, I was privileged to experience something new. Sitting at the computer that morning, something snagged my attention outside the sliding glass door beside me. I turned to see the back half of what appeared to be a scrawny kitten disappear around the corner of the house. It just didn't look quite right. On a hunch, I grabbed the camera and ran to the kitchen door.
Slowly opening the door, my eyes widened in amazement at the sight before me. There, about fifteen feet from my door, heading toward the back of the property, was a baby fox. From his slow and unsteady gate, he appeared to be sick or exhausted. I looked beyond the baby fox about 20 yards and saw that Mama Fox was watching Baby and me. Afraid to move, I positioned the camera to capture what I could before they could run off. As I raised the camera, I saw Daddy Fox come racing from the side of the house toward Mama Fox. They both stopped and watched me. Baby Fox was stumbling and looked as though he would drop in his tracks at any moment. I knew Mama and Daddy Fox wouldn't come that close to the house after they had seen me, so I knew that I had to herd Baby Fox back to his family's den.
So I walked slowly a few yards behind him, constantly checking my position to steer him in the direction of the den, which is about 100 yards off the back of our house. Mama and Daddy Fox were frantically trying to lure me away from their baby even though I kept assuring them that I was helping them. But they didn't seem to understand me! ;)
As I neared the den, I saw several of Baby's siblings hanging out on the top of the den, watching me approach them. I'm not sure who was more fascinated - them or me! After about fifteen minutes of slowly herding Baby Fox, with his head hanging and his little tail drooping, he joined them on the top of the den. Some of the pups were frightened enough at this point to go inside, but a couple of them stood their ground and warily stared me down. I stood twenty feet from the door of the den and watched them, clicking the shutter as long as I dared before walking slowly back to the house. Mama and Daddy Fox had long since hidden themselves and were no doubt watching in despair from the brush.
I figure that Baby Fox must have ventured out of his den in search of a little adventure. Somehow he had ended up toward the front of the property, and Mama and Daddy had found him and were trying to get him to follow them back home. The little tyke probably hadn't ever been more than 5 feet from the door of his den and surely wasn't prepared for what he would encounter outside the arm of parental protection.
The animal lover in me wanted to pick up this precious little pup and cuddle it and take it back to it's den.
Instead, I just pointed him back home.
We have a Shepherd that will leave the 99 to find the lost one and bring him home. Like those frantic fox parents, who left the other four babies in the safety of the den and went out to find the wandering child and bring him home, Christ chases after His lost lambs. He relentlessly pursues us throughout our lives until He finds us.
Many times, we as Christians encounter a Brother or Sister who is wandering down a path that leads to destruction. We have a responsibility to point them home. We are, indeed, our brother's keeper. We cannot pick them up and take them home. That's not our job. Ours is to love them, guide them, pray for and with them, and herd them if necessary. Ultimately it's God's responsibility to take them all the way Home.
I had to find the binoculars and keep them posted by the kitchen door so that I could keep tabs on my new babies. Yesterday, I watched Mama and Daddy Fox bringing dinner home for the pups. And I just grin from ear to ear -- all their babies are home!