By Allen Teal, chaplain, Rolla Presbyterian Manor
“Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.” (Luke 15:6, NIV).
May is a month for special days. It contains Mother’s Day and Memorial Day. It also has frog jumping day, leprechaun day, and pack rat day. My interest was caught by “Lost Sock Memorial Day” on May 9, 2018. Having owned many singleton socks, I can appreciate this tongue-in-cheek holiday. Things get lost. Some are worth finding, and some are not.
Three things are lost in Luke chapter 15.
In verse 1, the Pharisees chide Jesus for associating with the wrong kind of people. Three parables about lost things make up his response to them: a lost sheep, a lost coin and a lost son. A quick reading of this list suggests that something does not fit. Losing a sheep or a coin can’t compare to losing a child. Since the man has 99 more sheep, and the woman has nine more coins, these losses are not significant compared to the size of their possessions.
Finding something that is lost is always a great moment.
Regardless of the investment of time or worth of the object, it produces good feelings when a lost item is discovered. It’s rare that we follow the example of this man and woman by throwing a party to celebrate. It appears both people spent more celebrating than the value of the thing that was lost. Can you imagine celebrating with friends on May 9 if you were to find that lost sock?
Only the third parable tells of finding something worth celebrating.
Our material side identifies with finding lost money or a lost animal. Finding a lost son touches a different part of our nature. Occasionally, there is a news story about finding someone alive after all hope seemed lost. It is easy to accept the joy and relief of family members after the pain of their loss. A saved human life causes great rejoicing to make sense. Jesus made the point that in eternity physical possessions have little value. I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents. (Luke 15:10, NIV).