8 “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? 9 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