I do not know how you react to something being lost, but I typically start turning over couch cushions, looking under rugs, around beds, in and out of hard to reach corners. The idea of losing something drives me crazy, especially when it is things of value that I paid money for, such as my dear son who misplaces his Nintendo DS, more times than I can count! It is as though this switch in my mind goes off and starts sounding alarms, send in the firetrucks and call out the police – we need a search and rescue team in our home! I just cannot move past the lost item and go on with my day. I know it sounds like a comedic sitcom, but I honestly cannot help it. I need to find it and know it is safe in its place.
This morning I was reading in the gospel of Luke about three things that were lost: the sheep, the coin, and the son. As I read these scriptures words started flying off the page and leaping into my heart and mind so fast it made me stop dead in my reading and ponder these thoughts I am typing.
I am like the woman who lost the coin:
“Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? ” Luke 15:8
I too, look with fervor for the coin! Suppose the coin was your wedding ring or your wallet, how quickly we are to start hunting for our lost possessions! The value of the lost is great and we can not focus our attention on continuing our day knowing that it is lost!
As I read about the father running out to the son who returns from squandering his inheritance. The father didn’t run out and point his finger and say, “You heathen. How dare you take MY money and run around doing as you willed!” No – the dad sees him off in a distance and RUNS out, hugs his neck, rejoices that he is home! He is celebrating because his son was lost – he didn’t know where he was or what he was doing. He didn’t know if he was dead or alive. No phone calls, no emails, no text messages saying, “I’m alive and well!” Nothing. Time elapsed and a desperate daddy’s heart is broken because he does not know how his child’s well being is. So, when he sees him, he is so overwhelmed with the mere presence of his son and knowing that he is alive, he throws a party!
I read these parables and think to myself, how valuable each of you reading this are! You were bought with a price. Jesus completed the ultimate sacrifice and gave his life for you and for me. I think about how excited he must be when his lost children find Him. He doesn’t point fingers, he doesn’t give a list of wrongs, but he like the father celebrate their coming home! Then I think about the shepherds who go out and find the lost sheep, the one out of 99 who wandered astray. The shepherd leaves the flock and heads to the hills to find out where the sheep has gone, then brings him back to the group. How many of us, have been a shepherd? How many of us see the sheep is missing from our flock and goes out on a hunt to find them? They were regular attenders or maybe an infrequent attenders whom you haven’t seen in a while… what value are they to you? If it was your wallet missing you would be on an intense hunt to find it? How much more valuable is a lost person from the house of God? Week after week now their seat has been empty, who has gone out to find them? Who has “swept the house, lit the lamp and searched carefully until they found it?”
Friends, I dare us to see the value not of things lost, but of the missing people! That we would step out of our comfortable lives and put on our hiking boots, take out our staff and seek out that which is lost. When you return and the lost find their place once again among the flock, may we not just smile and be glad, may we “see them a long way off, be filled with compassion, and run to the sons and daughters, throw our arms around them and rejoice!”
“Rejoice with me, I have found my lost coin. In the same way, I tell you there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Luke 15:10
“ Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep. I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.” Luke 15:7
“But we had to celebrate and be glad,because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” Luke 15:32
God may our hearts be captured by your word. May we not just be hearers, but doers. That we would rise up and seek out the lost, those who have fallen away from you and those that have not drawn near to you. May we go out with purpose and fervor to fill those seats that were once occupied, so that as a family we can rejoice and celebrate! In Jesus mighty name, Amen.