Luke 15:4,6-10 – What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, "Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!" I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance. Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying, "Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I lost!" Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents. (NKJV)
I cannot function before my morning coffee, so when the phone rang early one day a month ago, awakening me from sleep, I was groggy and confused. It was my youngest niece speaking quickly and with great excitement. "You know those rings you lost, right? One was Grammie's opal, right? How long ago was that? A long time, right? How many did you lose? Did you ever have a Mind Trap® game?"
After several clarifying questions, my niece simply told me, "Someone bought a Mind Trap® game at Value Village that contained a bunch of rings. I am pretty sure those are your missing rings. You need to immediately pull up the National Post article."
What? Those rings had been missing more than three years, since July, 2015. Like the woman described in today's Scripture, I had searched high and low for them. Now, after they were found, several calls, texts, and interviews followed to prove that they were mine and to arrange their return. (Read the follow-up National Post article.)
No possession is more precious to a married woman than her wedding and engagement rings. In rediscovering my special, earthly possessions, I may have some inkling of how our Father feels each time one of His precious, lost creatures reaches out to Him. Like coins, they have lost their shine by decisively turning their backs on God, or, like sheep, they have gradually drifted away from God. We can only imagine His joy and delight when, from a long-lost one, He hears a prayer for assistance or an expression of praise and thanksgiving. The parables that Jesus shared were intended to demonstrate to God's children the great value that He attaches to each of us — more valuable than a woman's scant metal coins, more precious than meek but easily led sheep.
Despite the well-known nature of these passages, perhaps you, like me, need more tangible reminders of the depth of His love for us.
Prayer: Dear Lord, each time that we rediscover something that we believe has been lost to us, help us to give You praise for all the good that You grant to us. Like the woman and the shepherd, help us to be diligent in our search for those who need a demonstration of Your love. May we never forget how much rejoicing there is in heaven over one person who had been lost and now is found. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "O Come O Come Emmanuel" (Lyrics)