The parables of those things that are lost are very telling to us as followers of Christ. The woman with the lost coin is like our God who looks everywhere for us who are lost and living apart from him. He looks in every nook and cranny. He looks in, under and around everything for us. He uses a broom to sweep every corner for us.
When he finds us, he calls his friends and family (the
angels, the saints, the trinity) to celebrate that the lost has been found. We,
his coins, are special to him and treasures to him. What a joy it is to be
celebrated and treasured in this way.
The second parable in the series about lost things is a
parable about caring. The parable talks about one sheep among 100 who is lost.
The shepherd leaves the 99 to find the one lost sheep. This shows how much the
shepherd cares for each and every sheep. He will spend precious time away from
the majority to rescue the minority. Once he finds the lost sheep, he will
carry that lost sheep on his shoulders so that the sheep will not be injured on
the way home and the sheep will return in victory for having been found.
The parable of the lost son captures what it means in human
terms to be lost and then found by God. The young son asks his father for his
inheritance, which the father gives to him. This shows what a generous father
the son has and what a generous God we have. The son spends the money on wild,
reckless and wasteful living. This reflects how free we are with God’s gifts
and how ungrateful we are in our spending of those gifts. When the son realizes
how wasteful he has been, he seeks to return to his father’s house. When we
realize how reckless we have been with God’ gifts and how sinful we have been,
we seek to return to our God for forgiveness. When the son returns to his
father, his father welcomes him with open arms and throws a party for him. When
we return to God, he forgives us our sins freely and celebrates our return with
all those gathered in his home in heaven. He makes sure that when the time
comes, we will be his honored guests at the feast of victory in heaven.
I read an article recently that after Neal Armstrong brought back moon rocks from the Apollo 11 mission in 1969, they were distributed to all 50 states, but many of the mementos vanished. Saddened by this development, intrepid rock hunter Joseph Gutheinz made it his mission to find the missing treasures. He has successfully located all the states’ rocks, except for 2, New York and Delaware, and he hopes to find those by the 50th anniversary of the moon landing in 2019.
While some of the rocks were stolen, amazingly, Gutheinz discovered that an estimated 40 states did not record where they put the moon rocks, and they simply lost track of them.
How could this happen, we ask ourselves. But the truth is that something similar can happen with the treasure of our faith in Christ that we have been given by the power of the Holy Spirit through our baptisms.
Our precious faith can sometimes get ignored under that piles of work assignments, school activities and personal hobbies. For instance, if you can’t think of where to find a Bible in your home, then perhaps it is time to put the Bible front and center in your living space to remind your entire household that our faith is precious and needs to be honored and recognized.
The same goes for those who have wondered away from the faith or whom we have simply lost touch with. If you haven’t talked to a special friend in the faith for awhile, it is probably time to set aside some time to search for them and reconnect with this treasured person in your life.
I am reminded of the parable of the woman searching for the lost coin. Like Getheinz with the moon rocks, she is determined to keep looking for the coin until she finds it, and then she is overjoyed when she does.
Our attitude should be the same in our re-embracing of our faith and our fellow followers of Christ. Never let the Word of God or the bonds we have with others disappear from our lives!
I tend to sympathize with Zacchaeus. He was interested in Jesus, but he had trouble seeing him in the crowd. He was resourceful, so he climbed a tree to see him. But he didn’t really want to be seen himself.
But Jesus pointed him out. Jesus made it clear that he wanted to talk to him and spend time with him, even go to his house. Zacchaeus must have been mortified. I know I would be. I, like Zacchaeus, am curious about things but like to stay in the background.
But Jesus brings Zacchaeus to the forefront. Why? We find out in Luke 19:10 when Jesus says:
For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.
Bible scholars call that verse the heart of the Gospel of Luke. Located toward the middle of the Gospel, it is the hub on which the wheel of Christ’s mission spins. Everything before and after this verse is driven by this goal.
The Son of Man came to seek … He looks out for us. He searches for us.
… and to save … He is here to deliver us from sin, death and the devil.
… the lost. He knows we are lost in our waywardness and need to be found by him in order to gain eternal life.
I recently read The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning for the first time this week and was struck by how timely its insights were, though the book was written 26 years ago.
Ragamuffin is a term meaning the dirty, bedraggled and beat-up of society. These are the ones that society often pushes to the side or disregards completely. But these are the ones that Jesus went out of his way to spend time with, to the consternation of those around him. ““Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” the scribes of the Pharisees asked the disciples (Mark 2:16).
But that is why he came: to save the least and the lost and to show the world that each one of us is the least and the lost, the poor and bedraggled, the ragamuffin, in desperate need of his grace. Continue reading →