At some point in everyone’s life, they lose something. It could be as simple as lost keys or as significant as a close loved one. No matter what, loss creates a negative impact on our lives. It leaves a void that many times, we are ill equipped to fill.
In Luke 15, the bible illustrates 3 types of losses: loss of a coin, loss of a sheep, loss of a son. Of course, the bible is not just randomly listing stories of people losing stuff. There is a method to the madness. We are afforded a critical analysis of “why” and “how.” Each of the losses represent internal flaws within us. The bible gives us an introspection: a corresponding catalyst for the loss. And it is there, that we find our learning.
The first loss I want to examine is the lost coin. A woman owned a very valuable coin. It was worth a lot of money. But she was careless with it and lost it. So the story says she tore up her entire house to find that coin! This loss was due to carelessness. More specifically, the carelessness of the owner.
This lesson tells us that in all our “stuff” we can lose sight of what’s truly valuable. The good news is that we eventually come to our senses and begin to “seek” that thing with all we’ve got! “Seek and yee shall find!” God’s word promises that! If we diligently seek what’s valuable and lost (i.e., our close personal relationship with God), we will find it! And there’s where we receive our abundant blessing!!
Another loss illustrated is the loss of a sheep. The bible explains that if a shepherd lost his sheep, he would leave his large herd to find that one sheep. This loss is due to the distraction of the sheep. The sheep probably didn’t even know it was wandering off. He was just minding his business, eating grass, and suddenly when he looked up – the herd was gone and he was alone. This story is a beautiful depiction of the owner’s love and commitment to each and every sheep – one sheep missing was a great loss. He didn’t look at quantity, he looked at quality – the value of one life.
I think we all get “lost” every now and then. Aren’t there so many shiny objects in our world that distract us? Also, sometimes pain and challenges in our life causes us to get lost. But the story says the shepherd left his large herd to find one sheep! What??? Would it be such a great tragedy if you had $100 and lost $1? Most people probably wouldn’t care and some may not even notice. Not this shepherd. Our Shepherd cares! He left the herd to find that ONE. He finds value even in the least.
The other odd thing is that he felt comfortable leaving the herd to themselves. Why? Because the “not lost” sheep in the herd are supposed to support, help, and protect each other. That’s us guys! If you’re in the herd (a kingdom folk), that’s your job – to care for one another.
The lost sheep gives us 2 distinct pearls of wisdom to remember:
1) Every person counts in God’s kingdom. The bible says we’re all part of the body of Christ. If you wouldn’t be willing to give up an arm and leg off your body and not care, don’t be surprised when God doesn’t tolerate losing a body part (you or me) either…
2) When we’re part of the herd, we must love and support one another until the Shepherd returns. Jesus will return. But we need to keep each other encouraged and strengthened until He returns. Open your eyes and look around. Ask yourself: who can I be an encouragement and blessing to today?
Now the last “lost” I want to cover is the lost son: the prodigal. This loss was due to the son thinking that he didn’t need the father. He thought he could do it on his own. He willingly left the provision and protection of the father to engage in wild and raucous living. Now he knows he was raised better than that!!
Unfortunately, this is a common theme for many people today, even “godly” people. The grass looks so much greener on the other side of the fence. They fail to realize that it’s really artificial turf over there. At home, under the influence of the father, they have the “real deal.”
This loss didn’t cause the father to go seek the son like the other stories. Due to free will, since the son left deliberately, the father let him leave. It probably broke his heart but he let him go. The reason I love this story is because it shows the capacity of love and concern a father has for his errant and disobedient son. When his son turned back towards home, the father saw him (he was watching) and came running to him!
The incredible beauty of this story really hits me hard – the son turned back towards the father and daddy came running to him! Running! Our father is the same way with us! It doesn’t matter why or how far you strayed. Doesn’t matter what you’ve done or where you’ve been. Just like that “rebel without a cause” prodigal, God loves you! How could He not? You’re His beloved son or daughter. Turn back to Him and He will come running to you! You’re his precious child, adopted & grafted in. Nothing can separate you from His love – not even you!!! God’s love is completely unconditional (that means no strings attached). And you can’t do nothing about that!!
When you find yourself becoming distant or feeling a bit “lost” in the midst of this journey of life, remember this: “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! ….” 1 John 3:1 NIV