Summary: A sermon on the Parables of the Lost Coin and Sheep
The Most Valuable Things in the World
When my son Luke was a toddler, my wife and I took him to the beach in Gulf Shores, AL. We had a wonderful time but finally check out day arrived. I was in the kitchen packing up all of the refrigerator items when I heard my wife cry out, “I can’t find my wedding ring?” Well, that started a search of the condo. We retraced her steps. We looked all over the bathroom where she said she had set it down. We checked the bedside table and on the floor all around it and still it was not in sight. We then systematically began to take the condo apart, first the bedroom with moving the dresser and dismantling the bed, then the living room with removing every cushion on the coach and chairs and then lifting them up and searching under and behind them. We unpacked all of our clothes only to find nothing. As we searched without any progress, we became more and more frantic. Half an hour passed, then an hour, an hour and a half and at the end of the second hour, we started to talk about making an insurance claim. Regret and sorrow began to fill us. But then my wife realized there was one place we had not looked. We had brought all of Luke’s toys in a cardboard box. We had told him to put all of his toys back in the box. Giovanna and I ran over to it, turned it upside down, dumping everything out and in the bottom of the box, we saw it. We screamed out in joy and breathed the largest sigh of relief of our lives. Apparently, Luke had grabbed the ring off the bathroom counter all in an effort to help pack as we got ready to leave and put it in his box of toys.
Have you been there, losing something of great value and worth? Our Scripture today is Jesus’ response to the Pharisees’ charge that He welcomes and eats with sinners and tax collectors. The Greek word for "welcomes" literally means to "receive as a friend." This was Jesus’ attitude toward those who were lost in sin, to befriend them and love them back to God, vastly different from the Pharisees’ view of such people. In Jesus’ day, to eat with someone was more than sharing a meal together. It was a convenantal experience, meaning that once you shared a meal with someone, you were bound to them. If they were ever in need of help, you had to come to their assistance. So the Pharisees were careful with whom they broke bread. They didn’t want to become unclean and they certainly didn’t want to be beholden to a sinner. But Jesus? He ate with anyone and everyone, including the worst of the worst in the Pharisees eyes. The Pharisees sought to live pure and holy lives by following the letter of the Law. By Jesus’ time, they had become more critical of others who didn’t live like them or believe like them. They assumed an “us vs. them” mentality, calling those who disagreed with them “outsiders.” But this is why Jesus came: to save those far from God. As a result, the Pharisees didn’t think Jesus was seeking to live a pure and holy life because of those with whom he associated.