Summary: It's not as easy to get lost as it used to be ... except in our life decisions.
Lost and Found:
Getting Myself Lost
Getting lost is not as easy as it used to be! Global Positioning System (GPS) on most of our phones will direct us anywhere we want to go. Often through cow pastures! Reading maps a lost art! Even so, getting lost in life is as easy as it’s ever been.
Luke 15 presents a trio of parables about being lost and found - and that opens the gateway to the rest of the gospel as we will follow that theme of ‘lost and found’ to the end.
It begins in the setting so familiar in the Gospels. There are two groups of people around Jesus. (Luke 15:1-2 1 Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. 2 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”) The Tax Collectors and Sinners - they Listen. The Scribes and Pharisees - they Mutter, Grumble “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” What encouragement can be found in that statement. We find ourselves there … and so grateful for it. Then Jesus tells two striking stories about a lost sheep and a lost coin. The next story, however, stirs our souls … the story of a son with a restless heart.
11-24Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.
13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father.
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
There are some things I observe from this text about getting lost in life.
1. Getting Lost Is Easy
The Son set off for a distant country. Donald Miller: “Searching for God Knows What”. Who knows what the Son was searching for? He had money, opportunity, youth, idealism. He had had a taste of home, work, family, God. None of that set his course - he was looking for something he didn’t have now. That’s something that’s easy to fall into. How many lives have been wrecked because of trying to find in the world what only God can give us?
The son squandered his wealth in wild living. The appeal of the world is strong.
James 1:14-15 “…each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”
When we are dragged away by our own evil desires, we are squandering everything that God has given us. It costs the son a great deal to head out into world. His family, his home, his freedom, everything. So often at the time it doesn’t seem like a big deal, but there is such a big price to pay for our time wandering away from God. Getting lost is easy …
2. Coming to Your Senses is Hard. (Luke 15:14-17)
“After” - a chilling word in this text. I’m sure when he left his Father’s house he had no idea the cost he was going to pay for abandoning his Father. It was hard to be in need. It was hard to feed the pigs (Jewish boy repulsed). It was hard to be hungry enough to want to eat pig food.