Summary: God's Heart is for the lost, even those at home
“… what woman having ten coins, if she loses one of them …”
This little gem of a parable is the second in a trilogy of stories about lost things and about the heart of a gracious God that goes out and finds and restores that lost one.
The first Parable is about the Lost Sheep, one out of a hundred, which might equate to the world. In this Parable, there are no boundaries, no borders. The sheep are in an open paddock. God’s love extends that far.
The second Parable is about a Lost Coin, one of ten coins. It’s been suggested that this is the woman’s dowry price, so it’s important that she not lose any of it.
Here, Jesus is focussing on the Bride of Christ, the Church as exemplified in this woman at home. Here there are borders, doors, at least one window and a coin on the floor somewhere. God’s love is focussed on the lost ones in our families, in our Church.
The focus of the third Parable is even sharper: not now the world; not now the church or the home. This Parable is about individuals, a yumi, as is said in the Creole language of the Torres Strait.
Here Jesus is saying that God’s love is overwhelming for each and every individual: it runs at us, it throws its arms around us, it welcomes us home.
The Parable of the Lost Coin, though, is our focus today.
Do we have something lost at home, someone who is out of spiritual circulation? Our Lord is not all that concerned about lost coins, but is vitally interested in the value of lost people.
Being lost means being away from safety and in a place of danger; being lost means being where you’re not supposed to be. Lost doesn’t know where it belongs, or how to get there. Lost is waking up one day and realizing that among the most valuable treasures on earth, your family, there is one who is lost and out of spiritual circulation.
The focus of this parable is that something valuable has been lost at home. There are millions like this today, all over the world. We raised them in our Christian homes. We brought them to church but, as they grew up, they drifted and now they’re lost at home.
There may be others there who don’t realize they’re lost. They don’t understand that a loving God created them. They don’t realize that when this temporary life ends, an eternal one begins. Some people are not raised in a religious or Christian home while others are, and it’s possible to be lost at home in both settings.
Many believe their purpose in life is summed up this way: be a good person; be financially secure; and to take care of their families. Whether or not there is a God or a heaven or a hell or whether or not the Bible is true is never an issue. People are like the coin we’ve read about today. They aren’t trying to be lost, but that’s what happened.
What did the woman in the parable do?
She launched on a remarkable campaign that reveals the heart of God for people who are lost. God’s heart moves out to them.
Here is God at work to reclaim the lost, as seen through His eyes. It’s more than just a casual thing to note that the main character in this story is a woman. This is God’s perspective in this story (as it is a father in the next parable).
Rather than getting tied up with a debate about sexuality, it’s important to look at the direction of the love, from God (the woman) to the Coin (the one lost at home).
The religions of the world might be about man finding God. Christianity, however, is about God finding us. That’s what we have here: God at work.
The woman did three things. First, she lit a lamp. Lighting a lamp lights up the darkened corners where the coin may have fallen. So, here’s the first point: Light a lamp by living according to Jesus and His teachings.
Second, this woman swept the house. We sweep our house and empty it of stuff that allows the enemy a foothold in our families and could include wall decorations (death masks etc) or statues, or anything like that.
The third thing this woman did was to search diligently. She lit a lamp; she swept the house; and she searched diligently. She thought about ways of finding this coin. She committed herself to the task. She did not just look around a little in her spare time; she stopped everything and she swept the house out. Foot by foot she went over the floor, searching for the lost coin; it was valuable to her.