“Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Won’t she light a lamp and sweep the entire house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she will call in her friends and neighbors and say, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost coin.’ In the same way, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels when even one sinner repents.” – Luke 15:8-10.
World famous Cellist, Yo-Yo Ma, had just finished playing a concert at Carnegie Hall. He took a cab, placing his cello in the trunk. The cello, made in 1733 by Antonio Stradivari was worth approximately $2.5 million. The taxi driver who took him to the hotel after a performance, pulled away from the curb with the instrument still in the trunk. What followed — an all-points search for the rare instrument — was CIA type stuff. After three nerve-racking hours, the cello was safely returned.
We all misplace things. Glasses. Keys. The shopping list you just had in your hand. But everything changes when what you have misplaced or lost track of has great value to you. If you really value something, you will look for it until you find it. I’m sure Yo-Yo Ma was freaking out wondering if an irreplaceable cello would ever be found.
The woman in Luke 15 has 10 coins, which are worth about 10 day’s wages. To her, each coin is quite valuable. We can imagine the heart of this woman skipping a beat and her gasping with shock when she learns the coin is missing. Has she mislaid it or dropped it? Has someone taken it? Where could it be? She must find that coin. The search is on. She looks through one area and then she looks again. She looks all over the floor, under the mats, even in the pottery vessels. Then when she is starting to panic, she sees a small glimmer. There it is. She picks up the coin and a smile crosses her face. She looks at the coin and says,“I thought you were gone, never to be found.”
When you read these three parables, you realize just how inclusive God is. He loves not only the righteous, but also the unrighteous. He loves not only the respectable who have never really strayed away, but also the rebels, those who have thumbed their nose at God and wandered away. God is passionately concerned for each one of us, whatever we may have done. The good news is that although we maybe lost, we are never lost from the love of God.
We in turn should be equally passionate for the lost – as God gave His all for us, so we too should give our all to others. We as a church exist not to meet the needs of its members, but rather to meet the needs of those who never darken it’s doors. We need to be shepherds for the 99 and evangelists to the one. Think about in terms of how you respond to newcomers to the church. In the light of this parable we should be more concerned about speaking to newcomers than speaking to our friends. Are we?
Think about this parable in terms of how much effort you go to, to invite friends and neighbors to church: for this parable is not about allowing people to join us, but rather being pro-active and going out and inviting people to come and be part of God’s family.
This parable encourages us in God’s singular devotion to loving mankind enough to go searching for the lost. These three parables reveal God as a searching Father, looking for the lost, actively seeking them, and rejoicing when they are found.
As the church, we are called to be a part of the search and rescue team for those who are far from the heart of God.
- What things are you passionate about?
- What was Jesus’ passion?
- What does it mean to have a passion for the lost?
- Pray and ask God to prepare our non-Christian friends to hear about Jesus. Pray about who to invite to church this week.