Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

19 Heaven’s joy our job – Part 4

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Luke 15:8-10

8 “Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Won’t she light a lamp and sweep the entire house and search carefully until she finds it? 9 And when she finds it, she will call in her friends and neighbors and say, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost coin.’ 10 In the same way, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels when even one sinner repents.”

After seeing how people can become lost in pleasure, pride and pain now Jesus reminds us of how we can become lost in our plans and:

  • PRIORITIES

Jesus talked about a lost sheep that needed a shepherd, as well as lost sons who needed to be in fellowship with their Father. Now He talks about a lost coin that has value and needs to be put into circulation. It is here that Jesus once again voices our value. In the story of the shepherd the sheep was worth looking for at the expense of leaving everything else. In the story of the prodigal the son was worth waiting for and now in the story of the coin we are worth stopping everything to search for. So why was this coin worth so much to this woman? First it represented about a day’s wage, so it had financial value and purchasing power but it was more than just worldly worth. It had value from a sentimental standpoint as it could have been part of her wedding day attire. When a Jewish woman married she took ten silver coins and sewed them into a headdress, which she wore on her wedding day to signify that she was married and belonged to her husband. Our modern day equivalent would be a woman’s wedding band studded with diamonds. Wedding bands have financial worth but their greater worth is found in the relational connection they represent. Just like the woman in Jesus story my wife once lost one of the diamonds in her wedding ring. She lost it the week we were packing to move from Arkansas to Nebraska. My wife had the same response as tis woman, she looked everywhere and even vacuumed the house and packed the bags of dust into the U-Haul to search through later. Have you ever lost anything of great worth to you? For others it may just represent stuff but to you its significant. For me the sentimental significance is found in pictures of my children that hang throughout my house. They are worth only a few cents in terms of their physical value, but priceless to me because of who and what they represent. They preserve precious memories, significant stages of life at which my children will never be at again. The paper and frame are only worth a few cents, but the image is priceless, because its about a person not a picture. Yet this is not only about something of great financial and emotional value that was lost but also where it was lost. The story of the lost sheep tells us that the sheep had wandered away from the safety of home, the fold, and that the son willingly walked away from home. Yet here we have a coin that is lost at home, it didn’t willingly or carelessly wander off it was carelessly misplaced. It may have seemed to be in a place of protection and apparent safety, nevertheless it became lost. Jesus had been bringing people of all lifestyles back to God, the poor and the prostitutes, the immoral and the ill, the dispossessed and demon-possessed, the wealthy as well as the weary. The marginalized and the misunderstood were finding freedom and forgiveness. The bruised and abused were finding peace and a place at God’s banquet table. Yet the religious establishment did not rejoice this repentance, instead they griped at God. They complained at the change because the focus had shifted from self to the Savior. Here were sheep that had never left the fold, but their heart was far from the shepherd. They were like a lost coin, still at home, but nevertheless lost and out of spiritual circulation. Which forces us to face the question, “do I have something lost at home, something significant that is out of spiritual circulation?” What if I have misplaced what really matters, and taken God’s gifts for granted. You see God doesn’t really care about coins but He does care about children. What if like the coin there is someone lost in your home through inattentiveness or neglect? Are those who we see as safe in our homes secure in heaven? In this trilogy of parables being lost means being in a place of danger and despair, away from God’s peace and protection. It means spending life where you’re not supposed to be. It’s the tragedy of trading a meaningful life for a miserable one. Instead of being and belonging there is only emptiness and longing. Lost means living with no valid point of reference outside of self. Lost is waking up to learn that your child didn’t walk out or wonder away they were never in. It’s the realization that what we value might not be a mess but they are missing. It’s the tears over our true treasures because we got caught up in our cares instead of our children. We were caught up in the trivial when they needed our time, we were busy when they needed the bible. We were caught up in our plans when they needed prayer. We showed them selfishness when they should have seen the Savior.  We left them alone when they needed love. We never made learning about their personalities our priority. We slighted what was significant for a million reasons only to discover that we misplaced our most cherished coin, our children. We were like Martha who became absorbed in the unimportant, and so consumed by the insignificant that she insulted all who didn’t join her. We don’t have to be sheep in the wilderness, or a son in sin city to be lost. We can become lost in our homes, fussing over the perfect table setting and missing the Savior? Maybe Jesus is saying it’s time to let the dishes soak in the sink so we can soak in Him. How many of us are lost in our busy routines and sacred schedules, caught up in the temporary and the trivial? So preoccupied with our plans that we lose sight of what we  have lost. Why do we put our effort into the empty, because we have forgotten our true treasures, it’s not the coins that we cherish but our children. It’s time to cultivate what we say we cherish. When this woman realized what was lost she stopped everything to search.  She lit a lamp to illuminate the darkened corners where the coin may have fallen. She swept the house clearing out the straw that would have covered her floor. She made the search her priority, taking time for her true treasure. She gave herself to the task, she didn’t just look around a little in her spare time, she stopped everything to search. Foot by foot she went over the floor searching for what mattered most. To reach the lost at home, we need to light the lamp of God’s Word by living according to His Will. We must sweep our homes and empty out the straw that litters our floor. This is the stuff and the fluff that gives the enemy a foothold over our families. As a parent my children are my priority not the youth pastors, I need to take time to learn and to love them not leave them to others. Today we put more effort and energy into looking for our keys than we do our kids. As parents we hold back instead of holding on. Our children fall through the cracks because our priorities revolve around our plans not God’s. We need to hug more and hurry less, we need less lists and more love, we need more listening and less lessons. We need to make prayer our priority and pursue God’s plans. Did my wife ever find her diamond? Yes she did, it was in the most unlikely place, our son’s car seat which she discovered half way to Nebraska. Our baby boy was sitting on a diamond but what and where was our real treasure? Well diamonds don’t go to heaven, they might be lovely to look at but they have no life. So love what really lasts, expend your energy on the eternal not the earthly.

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