Who knows whether or not she was careless–of the sort who at least a couple times a month misplaces her car keys, forgets the child’s dental appointment, and has more than once been convinced that her car had spontaneously moved to the other side of the grocery parking lot. “I know I parked it right around here,” she fumes, pushing her loaded cart up one lane and down the other.
I’m not sure just what had happened, but she knew there should have been more money. There should be ten, but when she dipped into her pouch and fingered the silver coins, though she had counted three times now, it could not be denied that there were only nine coins.
Well, nothing to do save start looking. She lowered her head, and turning it from side to side, she scrutinized the floor. Didn’t see a thing. She grabbed up a broom, and with a furor began sweeping, throwing up dirt, and nervous dust mites who didn’t much take to this violent cleaning and swinging around of the broom. She kept sweeping, finding here and there a lost thing–but never the coin. “Dark ole house, anyway” she observed, “couldn’t see the money if it were perched right on my nose, it’s so dark in here.” She took up a candle, lighted it with a fagot, so that spread around the room now was a yellow orb of light. “Well, that’s better, anyway. At least I can see what I’m doing.”
The missing coin was rare and of great value. She had to find it! She looked and looked, lifted cushions, peered under the sofa, and with her free hand felt along the mantle. Nothing. She was determined–give her that–and she kept searching, kept sweeping, kept holding aloft the light…until at last, in a dark sharp corner, she caught a shaft of gleam. Bending low, candle high, she felt deep in the recess…and there it was…the lost coin.
Relieved now, pumped up with rushing adrenaline, she decided to party. She rushed next door and down the street, rounding up friends and neighbors. “You know I love parties…and today, we have a good reason to celebrate. Recall my valuable silver coins-the rare issues-somehow I lost one, and I thought I never would find it. But I tore into my place with a broom, lighted a tall candle, and I tell you! I found it! Come on over, I have chopped chicken livers in the fridge, some lamb meat balls, and this will work perfectly, I baked a great nut torte this morning. On my table at this moment is a fine bowl of plump figs. Come on over. Let’s celebrate!”
Jesus told that story–well.. its almost the same story.
“Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it? And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost.” Luke 15:8-9
Of particular note is the next verse.
“Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of god over one sinner that repenteth.“
I love this story and the concept Jesus teaches here. It’s happened to all of us, I tell you. We’ve been lost, messed up, misplaced, down on the floor with the dirt and the dust mites and the dark; people walking on us and ignoring us and mistreating us. At first we didn’t even know we were lost, then we felt the sweep of His spirit and somehow we understood someone was looking for us. Then one day we saw a little flame, then a brighter light, and finally…we were found. The Church picked us off the floor, told us about God, who shined up our surface til we glowed, and then there was the party. Rejoice! God says. The people rejoice! The angels rejoice! And God rejoices. Reason for the party? A sinner has been found, a valuable piece, a rare coin, a person of talent, highly desirable in the Kingdom of God.
Let’s find someone today who needs to be found, who is lost, and dusty, and stepped on and discouraged. What say we set up a party!