God's Lost and Found
Chad Reid, an American soldier serving in Afghanistan, had been cleared to leave the war zone and head home. There was a problem though - he had dropped his wallet on an Afghanistan street losing his credit cards and his vitally important military I.D. Luckily, Bill Peasley, a civilian aircraft mechanic, found Reid’s wallet and made contact with Reid’s mother in Denver and grandfather in Pennsylvania. The two men used Facebook to coordinate for Reid to get his wallet back just a few moments before his return flight to the States.
We’ve all had that experience of losing something so precious to us. We frantically search our surroundings looking for the lost item. We turn bitter to everyone around us, desperately blaming them for moving the missing item. Lost things can drive us insane. However, found things make for some incredible experiences.
In Luke 15, Jesus tells three stories and all three have a common theme: lost things found. The first story was of a lost sheep and a loving shepherd that searched until the sheep was found. The shepherd was not content with just bringing the sheep home, but he also tended to the sheep’s cuts and bruises, lovingly rejuvenating this wandering sheep. The second story is a woman who is frantically searching for a coin of great value that she has lost. She is lighting candles, sweeping her home and diligently searching until the coin in found. The final story is of a rebellious son that claims his inheritance before his father even dies, but he takes his portion and wastes in on partying and wild living. When the son returns, the father willingly accepts the son and celebrates his return.
At first glance these stories can seem extremely redundant, but Jesus was stressing an important nuance. Charles Spurgeon introduced his sermon on Luke 15 by saying, “We ought to be grateful to the Pharisees for having led our Lord to utter the three wondering parables which we are about to read. Luke says, “He spake this parable unto them,” implying that the three are really one, a picture in three panels. The whole plan of salvation is not to be found in either of the parables by itself, but in all three combined.” Spurgeon explained that all three stories come together to give us an accurate picture of salvation. Jesus as the loving shepherd places Himself in danger to rescue us from the peril that we created. The Holy Spirit, like the woman, is searching and bringing things to pass in order that the coin might be found. Lastly, God the Father welcomes us home after we have sinned against Him.
This parable, that consists of three stories, is a beautiful medley demonstrating all the lengths that God has gone about to provide our salvation. Our “being found” is something to bring great celebration and joy. Thankfully, God is a master at restoring things like us that have been lost.