What Am I Grateful for Today…Lost and Found

“Or what woman, if she owns ten silver coins and loses one of them, won’t light a lamp and sweep the house, searching her home carefully until she finds it?  When she finds it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Celebrate with me because I’ve found my lost coin.’10  In the same way, I tell you, joy breaks out in the presence of God’s angels over one sinner who changes both heart and life” (Luke 15:8-10, Common English Bible).

Have you ever lost something and then spent a great deal of time looking for it? Sure you have. I think just about any of us have faced such a time. It is frustrating, isn’t it?

It happens to me all the time. It might be because I am not the most organized person on the planet. My sermon this coming Sunday is in a style called a “chalk talk.” I knew I had the paper I needed for the sermon. I thought it was at the parsonage here in Sweeny but when I came home from the office and started looking for it. I knew that it was a paper product that had to lay flat. I looked in all the places I thought I would find it. I went and looked in the front bedroom closet. That has been the location for most of the arts and crafts as well as Cindy’s sewing stuff since we moved here a year and a half ago. It wasn’t there. I looked under the bed in that room. It wasn’t there. I moved on to our bedroom. I looked under the bed there. Still no sign. I was beyond frustrated. I was concerned. I knew that without one of the special surfaces used for pastels, one with “tooth and texture,” my sermon could fall flat because the chalk wouldn’t stick to the paper very well.

I called Cindy. I thought I remembered her saying they were here. She suggested I look on the shelves in our closet, to no avail. As we talked I didn’t think they were still in Lufkin but I knew at this point anything was possible.

Next, I thought of a box in the garage, the only box these sheets of paper could be in. And, they weren’t there either.

I thought, well, let’s see what I can find on Amazon. The store where I had bought these sheets several years ago is a pretty good drive from here. Let me see if I can find it online. I found the product but either it wasn’t big enough or the shipping to get it here was cost prohibitive.

I then started looking for workable substitutes. Again I was striking out. I was about the order some pretty expensive canvas when Cindy called me back before she had a chance to look around our condo. She said, “Go out in the garage and look on your look shelves. I went out there and on the top shelf, under some glass pieces I had put there to help keep the paper flat, I found my paper.

Can you imagine my relief? I was really worried about how I was going to do my sermon without my paper or a known working medium. I was VERY relieved.

If you are anything like me, when you lose something important like that, you understand my relief. It is incredible.

In the lesson, the woman had lost a silver coin. Depending on what commentary you read the coin was either a denarius or a drachma. Which doesn’t really matter because both were about the same value, a day’s wage for a common laborer (Oxford Biblical Studies). For the average citizen, it was a great deal of money. Not only was it a day’s wage, it was also about what it would take to live for a day. To have saved that amount of money would be difficult for a poor person of either the Roman Empire or the Greek World. It was also a tenth of everything she owned. Of course, she searched high and low for that coin.

When she found it, there was a great sense of relief. She was overjoyed and ready to throw a party. My relief yesterday was not equivalent. What I searched for was of relatively little value. It was important but I feel certain I could have found an adequate substitute. It was just going to mean giving up time. For her, it was a tenth of all she owned.

The real point of the parable is a lost soul is found and the joy of finding it. The drachma or denarius represents that soul. God’s joy over the lost soul being found is exponentially greater than me finding a few pieces of paper or a woman finding a coin, even if it is a tenth of her worldly belongings. The amounts don’t match up but the point is to let us see the importance.

The parable that immediately follows this one is about a man who lost a son who was found again. The father in the story even says, this son of mine who was dead is now alive and was lost and now found. Any parent who has lost a child, even for a little while knows that joy. I felt that joy when my son came home from Iraq.

Today I am grateful for the found paper. I am even more grateful that when my soul was lost, God was patient until I let myself be found. Friends, that is grace.

That is what I am grateful for today. What about you? What are you grateful for today? Write it down in your journal and then share it with someone who needs to hear it.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved


Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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