Summary: God’s ways are not our ways. This truth is not more clearly demonstrated than in the parable of the lost sheep and the lost coin
Luke 15:1-10 “Backward Economics”
Jealousy is never a pleasant human emotion, either when we become aware of it in our own being, or when we see it displayed in the lives of others. Jealousy is a common human emotion, though, and it is one that you and have had to deal with in our lives at one time or another.
I am the youngest in my family. When my sister and brother left home, my parents started to take in foster children. I was glad to have the companionship of boys my age, but I certainly didn’t like all of the attention that my mother would shower upon the new arrivals. She would go out of her way to make them comfortable and feel a part of our family. For some reason, I always thought my mother’s love was in limited supply—that if she shared her love with others, there would be less for me.
Some of us may have had friends who were adventurous souls. Rather than stay in the well defined groups that were formed in high school, they would break ranks and sit by the new kid in school, and befriend that individual. Most people that I know who had such friends experienced pangs of jealousy. They feared the loss of friendship, and were angry that their friend would share his or her friendship with another.
Jealousy appears to be a part of the parables that we read in the gospel story today.
People were gathering around Jesus as he went about his ministry. The religious people, who were represented by the Pharisees and teachers of the law were upset (read jealous) that Jesus was spending time with sinners and tax collectors. After all, the religious people were good people; they had worked hard to please God. The religious people thought that they had earned more of Jesus’ attention then he was giving them. Not only was he not paying them a lot of attention, but he was also paying a great deal of attention to the lower classes of society.
Jesus never overlooked those people who society tended to overlook. Jesus made it his priority to seek out the disenfranchised, the weak, the sick, the outcast, and the needy and show them special love. Even though these people had done nothing to deserve God’s love, Jesus took pains to assure them that God did love them.
The parables that we have in our gospel story today demonstrate God’s overwhelming, steadfast, no-barriers love. God’s top priority is to gather people into a relationship with him, and he will move mountains to invite and encourage people to respond to his love and enter into a relationship with him.
ENOUGH TO GO AROUND
We eventually discover that a parent’s love doesn’t decrease with the addition of another person to love. Love is not a finite quantity. We also find out that we can be best friends even amongst many friends.
The shepherd did not love the flock any less when he went to search for the lost lamb. His love was limitless and went beyond the safe and secure flock to the lost and needy. In a similar manner, the woman did not treasure her nine coins any less by searching for the one coin that she had lost. God has enough love to go around—to the entire world.
Today we celebrate two baptisms. One of the things that I love about baptisms—especially infant baptism—is how baptisms proclaim the greatness of God’s love. God loves the least and the lowly. God loves us before we do anything impressive beyond spitting up and making a mess in our pants. And baptism is just the start. God will continue to pour out God’s love on these people, inviting them and encouraging them to live in a relationship with God.
If we were to share the story of our faith journeys, we would hear many examples of God’s overwhelming love that knows no bounds in bringing us into a relationship with God. God has moved in our lives in mighty ways, even though we did nothing to deserve God’s love and at times may have tried everything to reject God’s love.
God love his flock, but he also loves those outside the flock. God will never stop trying to bring them into his flock to enjoy the fellowship of others and his Lordship in their lives.
REFLECT GOD’S IMAGE
The mission and ministry focus that we have here at Desert Streams is a reflection of God’s love. We are challenged to always be outwardly focused.
We have our challenges at Desert Streams. We have not yet met the challenge of being self-sufficient. We still have to pay off the land and we have the daunting challenge of eventually building our first mission/worship center. If these challenges ever become our sole focus, then we have lost the calling of the Lord and the reason for our existence.