Luke and The Lost and Found
What brings pure joy to our lives? Is it winning a prize, paying off debt, or accomplishing a challenging task? These will bring personal joy, but is it a joy to be shared with others? How will others respond to our joy? How do we respond to the joy of others when they have succeeded in life?
Now, let’s go a step farther in our evaluative thinking. Are we truly joyful when a lot of effort and time is spent trying to lead others to find and follow Jesus? Are we jealous when parties of joy are thrown when the vilest of sinners come to know the Lord? Do we celebrate with all our heart and soul? Or do we hold back our joy and allow our minds to suspiciously wonder how long their salvation will last for they did not grow up like you did in the church with knowing all the commandments and rules.
The Parable of the Lost Coin is one of the parables of Jesus. In it, a woman searches for a lost coin, finds it, and rejoices. It is a member of a trilogy on redemption that Jesus tells after the Pharisees and religious leaders accuse him of welcoming and eating with “sinners.”
In this second “lost and found” parable, we find Jesus explaining that His salvation will be for all mankind. All sinners are in need of a Savior and He will provide the Way to redemption. What is their response? Joy? No, the Pharisees were not at all pleased. They murmured (gossiped) among themselves. They were disgusted at Jesus welcoming the “least of these” and giving to them what they thought they were entitled to alone because of their heritage. Their grumbling triggered this second story….
Luke 15, The Message
The Story of the Lost Coin
8-10 “Or imagine a woman who has ten coins and loses one. Won’t she light a lamp and scour the house, looking in every nook and cranny until she finds it? And when she finds it you can be sure she’ll call her friends and neighbors: ‘Celebrate with me! I found my lost coin!’ Count on it—that’s the kind of party God’s angels throw every time one lost soul turns to God.”
What is Jesus trying to tell the religious of his day? And our day?
–Celebrate WITH Me! The lost are being found and saved by Me, says Jesus.
–The silver coin represents a lost soul plunged into the dirt of the world. It shouldn’t just stay there. It must be found!
–Great pains were taken to recover the lost coin. She lights a candle to look in all the dark places, behind the door, under the table, and in the dirt floor of her cottage. She does not give up until she finds it.
–God does not give up on us. He uses various means and methods to bring lost souls home to himself. The candle is the light of His gospel to show us the way back to Him. He sweeps our hearts clean. He calls all of heaven to join him in a celebration of joy that we cannot imagine. Joy unspeakable and full of glory.
–The worst sinner who is finally found produces the greatest joy in heaven!
–This is not a time to be jealous or suspicious of the “found” but a time to rejoice with Jesus.
–From Matthew Henry, “While there is life there is hope, and the worst of sinners, if they repent and turn, shall find mercy. Yet this is not all, God will delight to show them mercy, will reckon their conversion a return for all the expense he has spent upon them. There is always joy in heaven. God rejoices in all his works, but particularly in the works of his grace. He rejoices to do good to penitent sinners, with his whole heart and his whole soul.”
Mm….Now if there is such joy in heaven, for the conversion of sinners, then the Pharisees were very much strangers to a heavenly spirit, who did all they could to hinder it and were grieved by it. They were exasperated at Christ when he was doing a piece of work that was, by all others, most grateful to Heaven.
Do we hinder the spirit with our attitudes about the lost being found? Do we truly celebrate with all our hearts, minds and souls when the worst of sinners comes to accept the grace of our Lord? Do we growl and grumble at the dollars and time spent on the lost? Are we more concerned with maintenance of the building, the grounds, the parking lot, keeping the traditions of each holiday intact no matter what it costs, the carpet color, the buffing of the floor and the paint on the walls? OR do are we concerned deeply and passionately about the saving and restoration of souls? All souls.
Dear Heavenly Father, It is good to take stock and evaluate our own thinking, attitudes and behavior. Most of us cry tears of joy and celebrate with applause when the lost are saved by you. Help us to always avoid the Pharisee-like grumbling when it comes to time and effort spent on helping the lost find You. Cleanse us, O Lord. Sweep out all the dark places of our thinking. We celebrate with You!
In Jesus Name, Amen