You ever lost something – something of value? What did it cause you to do? panic, fret, and worry? search frantically? give up? etc.
Losing something is never fun. You’ve got to retrace your steps. You’ve got to wrack your brain to try and recall where you may have lost the item. In other words, it’s an extremely difficult undertaking that can often be strenuous – both mentally and physically draining.
Jesus spoke of a woman who lost a coin (Luke 15: 8-10), who searched frantically and carefully in trying to find it. She literally had no external light in her home due to the way homes were built in Jesus’ day, so she had to light a lamp and literally sweep the entire house hoping the coin would appear. And even though coins take on small value for us in this culture, I clearly understand why she would go to such degrees in finding this coin. It had extreme value!
There a couple reasons for its value that we don’t often look at when reading this parable: first, the coin, the drachma, was worth approximately a day’s wage (imagine if you lost $100 today and you knew you needed it to pay the electric bill this month), and the second, she was a woman (husbands and sons were the source of income and care for women in those days). Though Jesus does not make it clear whether this woman was married or widowed, you get the sense she is under extreme pressure to find this coin. She better find it for fear of a husband’s disappointment that a hard-earned day’s wage was now gone, or she better find it for fear that this lost coin’s value could never be earned again since she, a widowed woman, could never make such a wage in the marketplace. In either case, we know the importance of this coin because Jesus does tell us that when it is found, she calls together her friends and neighbors to celebrate the occasion.
I just recently lost my wallet. And though a day’s wage wasn’t in it, I was still sick to my stomach knowing that my whole identity was wrapped up in that little black billfold I carried in my pocket on a daily basis. And so you begin to worry that someone has found it – that someone might use the information in it to purchase items, or worse yet, steal your identity.
So I prayed and began to search the cars, the house from top to bottom – every nook and cranny, even questioning my daughter if she had placed it somewhere (she’s taken things before and made them her own). Still no wallet. And as I’m searching diligently for about a week, I’m reminded of the story above that Jesus taught when questioned by the Pharisees and the teachers of the law of why He was hanging out with tax collectors and sinners.
My search for my lost wallet reminded me that Jesus’ true desire is to find those who are lost – to find those who need to be restored into a relationship with God through the Son. My search helped me to recall that God celebrates when a lost soul is found, and that He diligently seeks to find those who are lost. He’s not a God of those who think they are righteous, but rather a God of those who come to their senses and realize they need to be found.
My wallet is still lost. I thank God no one at this point has tried to use my information illegally. I still don’t know if it was lost publicly and found, but never returned. I still don’t know if it’s discretely hidden in and around my home. I still don’t know if it was stolen from my vehicle as I picked up my son from all star baseball practice. What I do know is this, I tried my best in finding it.
But, I’ve moved on from trying to find it. The credit cards have been cancelled. A new driver’s license is in the mix. I still hope to find it – that it would miraculously appear – but I’m not going out of my way to search for it any longer.
The good news though is that Jesus never quits the search. He’ll continue to search for lost souls until the Father in Heaven says it’s time for Him to return for His bride. I only wish I had that resolve. But really, what’s a wallet in light of eternity? You’re right. Nothing!
So thank you Jesus for making me realize what’s important in this life. Thank you Jesus for helping me to understand your purpose clearer – to bring lost souls into a saving relationship with you. Thank you Jesus for allowing me to lose my wallet so that I might always be reminded of your passion for the lost.