Luke 15: 8 -10
Don’t you just hate to lose something?! Don’t you just seethe with anger at yourself when you have misplaced something?! You may berate yourself for not having handled or stored the item more carefully. Often in your mind’s eye you can see the item and where you last saw it, but then it is not there. The item does not always have to be of great monetary value. It may be something simple … some notes or some numbers scribbled on a piece of paper. Whatever it is, once you discover it is missing or is not where you thought it was you begin a thorough search!
You look in this box or that drawer. You dig through this pile of papers. You try to recall, did you see it last in the den or on the back porch? You thought you left it on the vanity or on top of your chest of drawers. Maybe you left it in the car. Then you begin to ask yourself if it could have accidentally fallen in the trash or did it get mixed in with other things that you stored in a cabinet?
You begin your diligent search. You are so bent on finding the item that you completely waste the opportunity to sort the things and organize them and to discard things that you don’t need. You can’t do anything else but look here and there. It is so frustrating then as you rummage back through piles or drawers certain that you have overlooked it in your initial search. Can you relate to such a situation? Let me assure you I do and much more often than I would like! I understand the woman who lit the lamp, swept the house and made a complete and thorough search to find the one silver coin that became lost from her treasury of ten coins. When she found the lost coin she rejoiced and called others to rejoice with her.
I can’t recall ever having called my friends together to celebrate my having found something that was lost. I may mention my distress and then my recovery of the document or item to family members or friends. Almost always I breathe a “Thank You” prayer to the Lord for helping me to find what I lost. I am happy and even thrilled to find something I lost after a diligent search. At least then I feel that my work has not been in vain. I still may give myself a good talking to so that I avoid similar situations in the future. I might instruct myself to remember the adage: “A place for everything and everything in its place.”
But this parable is about something much more important than a lost piece of paper or even a silver coin! Jesus says, “I tell you there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” There is great joy in heaven when we come to ourselves (seeing ourselves as sinners), when we acknowledge our wrongdoing and when we ask God to forgive us. There is great joy in heaven when we confess our sins and when we repent.
Merciful God, we thank You for hearing our prayers of confession and that there is great rejoicing in heaven whenever a sinners repents of his or her sins. Amen.