Thursday, March 30, 2017

From the Lost and Found Department

The stories from Luke 15 of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost boy, have given us countless lessons over the years.  There is something about a story that begins with a problem, and ends with a blessing.

In the first story  Jesus is asking if we had 100 sheep and one of them strayed away and got lost, wouldn't we leave the 99 remaining and go searching for the one that got lost, and keep searching till we found it? Jesus continues by telling in his story, when the lost sheep is found it is time for rejoicing. Then he says something that might seem a little strange to us.  Jesus says there is more rejoicing in heaven over one lost sinner returning to God, than there is over 99 that never strayed. 

The second story is about a woman that had ten coins and she lost one. She took her lamp and looked in every corner, over everything, under everything, and even sweeping every square inch of her house until she found the one that was lost. Upon finding it, she called in all her friends and neighbors to help her celebrate the joyous news. Something important to her was lost, but she found it.  Jesus ends that story, telling of the joy in the presence of the angels of God when one lost sinner repents. 

The third story has many more details but in a nutshell, one of the sons of a certain man insisted on getting his inheritance early so the old man divided his estate between sons, and gave the boy what he asked for. The son then packed his things and took off to a faraway place and wasted all his money. When the money ran out, the boy was starving and found a job feeding pigs, having to eat the same things he fed to the pigs.  He got smart in a hurry and devised a plan to return to his father. The trip back home must have been difficult for him, but the Bible says when he was still a long way off, the father saw him coming and ran to greet him. There was a big party of celebration for this boy who became lost, but found his way to the welcome arms of his father at home.  Then , his older brother, hearing the party going on, became jealous and enraged because he had been the one that remained faithful to his duties on the farm, and now the younger brother who has wasted everything comes home to a celebration. The older son was reminded by his father that everything the father owned was already his, but the party was for a son he considered dead but was now alive, lost but now found.

Human nature would have me remind God that I am not the one from the flock that got lost, I have remained with the flock all these years. I am not the coin that was lost, because I remained with the 9 other valuable coins that were safe and sound. I am not the son that had to go and experience the wild living of a faraway place, I am the faithful son who has stayed to fulfill my duties.

Heavenly nature has us realize that many of us do stray, we do get lost, and we do run away, when we put our ideas and ways above those of God. Isn't God telling us that we could be just as lost while we remain with the flock and family, if we have a poor attitude of acceptance toward those who were lost but now found? Remember this if you have been a Christian for 5 minutes or 50 years. When anyone returns to God from the faraway country of sin, it is time for everyone to rejoice. It's time to join in heaven's party. One of God's children has come home.  God keeps the lost and found department open at all times.


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