"What do you think? If a shepherd has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. So it is not the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost" (Matthew 18:12-14).
In his Metaphysical Bible Dictionary, Charles Fillmore writes that sheep "represent the natural life that flows into man's consciousness from Spirit." I think the phrase "natural life" is important. It isn't the full expression of the Christ we are called to achieve; it is the innocent, trusting power of divine life expressing in mortal form.
In this passage, Jesus has just told his disciples that they must "become like children" to enter the new consciousness he describes as the kingdom of heaven. That's not the final step into kingdom consciousness—it's the first. In becoming like children, we release any accumulation of fear-based thought energy. We let go of "knowing what we know" and return to the spiritually empowered thoughts with which we enter into these human experiences.
Those childlike thoughts may become scattered and lost through the dramas and challenges of our human lives. But the shepherd within us—the Christ presence of God—will always be able to patiently gather them and bring them together, so the creative power we are here to express can become the only energy in which we live our lives.