Summary: The parable of the lost coin, what does it mean and what part do we have on behalf of God finding lost sinners so that they too can become citizens of heaven and found in Jesus? Read on!
Found in Jesus; or The Sheila what lost a silver coin!
This week being Red Shield appeal week is an interesting one, it’s always interesting to see the generosity of the public as they respond to The Salvation Army as an organisation. This year some of the response has been about assistance that was received post the earthquakes rather than the assistance that was given to someone’s Grandad or Great Uncle during the War
A thing that I find quite mind boggling is the value that is received in coins in each bucket and in fact we receive two to three times the amount financially in coins than we do in notes, this year we also received a dream token and quite a bit of peoples foreign holiday change, as well as a bit of old currency and a plastic button.
We had a strange occurrence early in the week when a lady dropped a Japanese Yen in the bucket and on realising burst into tears and asked if we could give it back. The person collecting got her name and phone number and we were able to call her and let her know where she could pick it up from. She mentioned she was upset because she had been given the coin and told that if she kept it in her purse she would always have money in the purse, superstition, yes, but I guess she would always have that money in her purse
There’s a story Jesus tells about a lost coin and I thought the week being what it is, we could take a look at it. Let’s have a look at Luke 15: verses 8 -10.
The thing to remember here is that back in the day houses were very poorly illuminated, with only natural light and this woman dropped one of her valuable stash of ten coins. The value of which was a day’s wages for one person, so a fifth of a week’s pay, or a sixth if you did a six day week. This coin was worth looking for; so we have this picture of a lady with her little oil filled lamp, about as grunty as a present day candle. Here she is moving the reeds and straw that were placed on the floor aside, sweeping the floor until she finds the coin, most likely by hearing it being swept as it’s so dark.
Then there was great rejoicing, she called her friends and neighbour’s over to celebrate; she was ecstatic.
The reason, she was so happy may not have been just because this coin was worth a few quid, it may actually be a quite romantic reason. The thing is that at the time a Jewish bride when she was married had a string that was worn around her forehead and on the string were ten silver coins, this may have been one of those coins, oh the memories of that day. Or it could be she was looking forward to that day and she had put those coins aside in the same way a bride may plan her wedding these days, putting special adornments and jewellery aside for the big day. This one coin was no mean penny this was a valuable asset.
There is also a school of thought that this one tenth of her wealth may show how valuable the tithe is to the advancement of the kingdom of God, and that often it is lost on things of no kingdom value as are the sinners that that tithe would have been used to reach out to so that they could be found in Christ.
The way Jesus tells this story is something of a new teaching, something completely new to the Jewish teaching of the time, the reason being that he breaks a couple of social norms in telling it. We see that he finishes the parable by say “In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” So this story is about God seeking out lost sinners and those sinners being valuable to Him, and interestingly in this case Jesus actually demolishes a social norm in his parable by picturing God as a woman. This was something unheard of in the day. Not just that God was portrayed metaphorically as a women but more stunningly that God would seek out lost sinners, this was a new teaching, that God would seek to find the lost.
In the life of Jesus we see just that; God come to earth, human and divine living a life where he seeks to save those lost in their sins, why so that they are no longer lost , but living worthwhile lives, free from superstition, from lucky Yen’s, demonic influences, burdens that they need not carry, desires of the flesh, and religious secularism.