‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ --Luke 15:9
Last week, during my vacation, I built a set of steps for my deck. The old ones had rotted to the point of collapsing, and safety demanded their replacement. I am a slow carpenter. One of the reasons I’m slow is that I often set down my tools around the work area and then can’t find them. During this particular building project, I managed to lose my only carpenter’s pencil.
With increasing frustration and irritation, I searched and searched for the pencil in the small area I had covered between where I had used it last and where I noticed it was missing. After searching for what seemed like forever, I was convinced it had been swallowed up by a black hole. I was just about to give up when… there it was… laying hidden in a tuft of green grass. I was convinced it had been spit up by the black hole. I was sure I had searched that same spot at least ten times. I rejoiced.
Can you think of a time when you found something you lost? Can you remember finding something you had given up on ever finding again, or were about to?
Think about how YOU felt.
I think that’s what Jesus was trying to say about how God feels when God finds us! OK, God never really loses us! But, we humans do have a bad habit of falling out of life’s pockets and slipping into the gaps between the sofa cushions of the world. Like pencils, we slip out of holes in shirt pockets and wind up hiding in the grass.
No matter how lost we are, God always keeps looking for us. Unlike me and my pencil, I don’t think God is ever ready to give up on us. Like the woman and the coin, the scriptures teach us that the God of steadfast love persistently searches for God’s lost ones. As Paul writes, there is nothing that can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. I believe that! I count on it! Jesus didn’t give up on those around him either. He welcomed tax collectors and sinners, along with prostitutes, lepers, and those discounted by the world. He even ate with Pharisees and others who were his enemies! He invites us to do the same. Not because we’re so righteous or better than the lost ones of our worlds. Not because we’re like the woman with the coin. But, we join Jesus’ search because we know we’re lost coins too. We are compelled to invite everyone to the table because even the likes of us have been invited by Jesus.
My pencil could do nothing to make me find it. It could not shout or cry out or confess its faith in me or do anything else to help me in my search. When it comes to being lost from God, there is nothing we can do either. And yet, somehow, God still manages to find us, reclaim us, and rejoice over us. That’s grace. Grace worth sharing. The cornerstone of our faith.
Pray for those who feel lost and alone, and who wander and wait to know the God who loves them. Pray that God uses us to accompany them and help them discover the God who never loses track of any of us. Not once.
Thanks for reading.