Summary: Some of you are searching for something, but you don’t know what it is you’re looking for.
How many of you chronically lose or misplace things? You never notice it something is lost until you need it and it’s always in the last place you look. Believe or not, God knows what all of this—maybe some of it—feels like. God is searching for something—but not because he can’t remember where he left it. He knows where it is. But that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s found what he’s looking for.
Like many of you today, God has suffered a loss. Some of you have lost friends. Some of you have lost siblings. Some of you have lost parents. Some of you have lost a spouse. And God knows how that feels for you. Way back in the beginning, he created people to enjoyed the best of everything environmentally, socially, relationally, economically, and spiritually, but when God’s word was challenged, when his authority was questioned, and when his love and care was disbelieved, the relationship he enjoyed with his creation was fractured, resulting in their being separated from him. While God readily forgave them, he also didn’t shield them from the consequences of their choices. Everyone suffered, including God.
I believe that every person has a need for God, so early on in life, people begin searching for things to fill this God-shaped void in their life. At the same time God is searching for people who will let him fill that void. So, while we are searching for things to fill our God-shaped void, God is searching for the opportunity to show us how well he fits into that void. This morning, some of you are well aware that you are searching and that God is searching for you, it’s hard to believe and trust that this void in your life—of which you are well aware—can only be filled by the one who created you.
Some of you are searching for something, but you don’t know what it is you’re looking for. You know how you’d like it to make you feel, but you don’t quite know what you’re looking for or where to find it. Some try fill the void through money and things you can buy, and really just end up spending money they really don’t have on things they really don’t need or even want, in order to attract and impress people they really don’t even like.
Some attempt to fill the void with unhealthy, co-dependant, and ultimately destructive relationships. But you know it’s not working because you’re still not finding that peace or security you can only get from God. It’s not just the fault of that person because you place expectations on them only God could fulfill.
Some try to fill the void with positions of power, authority and influence over people, thinking that controlling people is what we’re looking for.
Or maybe its drugs or alcohol. You’re not an addict, but you’re convinced that you just need it to get through the day. And “a little more” and “just this once” and “just one more time” have all added up, and that which you claimed you could control now controls you—and maybe you really are addicted.
For others, they’re trying to fill that God-shaped void by trying to control other people. They on a quest to mold and shape and manipulate and control their spouse or children or friends into clones of themselves. You hold incredibly high standards for yourself to which you’ve never attained, but you’re still reaching for them and holding them over the people in your life as well.
Or maybe you’ve just given up on life and have resolved yourself to live a life of withdrawal and isolation. You’re just biding your time floating in an ocean of loneliness, wondering if someone will ever throw you a life-line.
When God took on the form of a man in Jesus Christ—that’s the Christmas story—and then died on the cross and rose from the dead for our sin, both mine and yours—that’s the Easter story—that lifeline was thrown and now the opportunity take hold and allow him to pull us toward him is completely available.
During his earthly ministry, Jesus told stories or parables, but he always told stories to make a vital, eternal point. The three stories we’re going to look at this morning have two things in common: One is that the character that represents God the Father is actively pursuing something that represents you and me.
The second is that the things being searched for have incredible value to the one doing the searching. There was a point where Jesus was becoming known for keeping company with some fairly undesirable types of people, at least in the eyes of those who felt qualified to determine such things. Look with me now at Luke 15:1-2.
1 Tax collectors and other notorious sinners often came to listen to Jesus teach. 2 This made the Pharisees and teachers of religious law complain that he was associating with such despicable people - even eating with them!