Summary: no matter who we feel, we are never lost from the love of God
You will have noticed that we have been hearing a lot of parables in the last couple months. We are currently reading from The Gospel According to Luke, and parables are one of Jesus' favorite means of teaching.
Today, we again have a parable that is really two parables, but concentrate on the same teachings.
In the first part of this parable, a shepherd finds that one of his 100 sheep has wandered off. We need to remember that a herd of only 100 sheep was pretty small and indicated that the shepherd was not of moderate means; each and every one of those sheep provided a livelihood for himself and food and clothing for his family.
So the shepherd goes off to find that one lost sheep. When he finds him he lifts him to his shoulders and rejoices that the lost has been found. He calls all his friends together to celebrate finding the lost sheep.
We all can remember those pictures we have seen since childhood of the shepherd with the sheep on his shoulder.
What a happy sight!
In the second part of this parable, a silver coin is lost. This coin was the equivalent to a day’s wages. That is a significant amount of money, even now. After turning the house upside down, turning over beds, and sweeping all the dust bunnies out of the corners, the woman finds the coin and rejoices. She too calls her neighbors together to celebrate that the lost has been found.
In each of these parables something of value is lost or misplaced.
Don’t you think that we are as valuable to God as the coin and sheep were to their owners?
We find throughout the Bible that Jesus is always associating with sinners: remember when he ate with the tax collectors and talked to women of ill repute.
Those were the people to whom Jesus brought the good news of God’s love and the path to salvation; these were the lost that would be celebrated when found. Even the angels celebrate when a sinner is found. God is far happier when one lost soul is found those nine-nine good souls.
We need to remember that God is diligently looking for sinners. We never escape his eyes. And he has sent disciples to show us the way. We meet them every day; they show us the way to repentance and salvation. God continues to sweep in every corners, round up the dust bunnies and turn over every stone to find those of us who have lost our way.
So, no matter how ‘lost’ we may feel, we can be assured that someone will come and ‘find’ us and show us the way. And when we repent, there is great rejoicing in Heaven,
Even the angels are dancing!
Delivered at Lindley Assisted Living Center, Athens, OH; 16 September 2007