“And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbors together, saying, ‘Rejoice with me,’” Luke 15:9.
The tiny brick-and-mud house has only a door for an opening. Freshly laid rushes cover the hard dirt floor, providing warmth underfoot and comfort when sleeping. One room serves as kitchen, bedroom, and workplace. Busy around the room, the housewife lays aside her headdress. Ten coins hang from it: the dowry to her marriage. This substantial gift must be kept in a safe place. Ten coins had strained her parents’ resources.
Picking up the headdress again, she fingers the coins. Her heart leaps. She counts again. Nine! One has fallen off. The lost one must be somewhere in the house. Somewhere in the reeds and dirt lies one-tenth of her dowry.
Jesus has us by the ears with this story, just as He must have charmed His listeners so many years ago. We know what it is to lose something precious and to search desperately for it.
The woman lights a lamp, an extravagance at any time, justified now only by the importance of the quest. She peers into corners, bends to examine the rushes. Then driven by desperation, she pulls the reed mats out of the house and shakes them, watching all the time. Nothing. Now she takes a bundle of twigs. Dust flies out the door. The whole village knows her plight.
A dull gleaming in a corner. A shout of joy. She found the coin. And for this one coin, she throws a party! How could she share her joy without food or drink? Unthinkable. The party costs far more than the value of the coin, but no matter. The joy of finding must be shared.
Magnify this woman’s desperate search to God-size and you will begin to understand how earnestly God searches for the sinner. He lights the lamp of His love. He scrambles among the dirt and trash of the human home. Turning from a universe of riches, a galaxy of adoring subjects, He searches for this one lost coin as if it were all He possessed. You are that one lost coin! At your repentance, at your finding, God and the angels shout for joy.
There is an opportunity to participate in the great work of pursuing people who are currently displaced. We often refer to them as missing members. The truth is that it’s difficult to be missing in the 21st century. Through social media platforms and electronic search engines connecting us through the push of a button to the World Wide Web, every human being can be located. As we embark upon the formal launching and rolling out of the Southern Union’s strategy of “Reconnecting through Multiplication” for the year 2022, join the Southern Union Council of Presidents and the ministerial leadership teams of each conference and university in praying for the reward of rejoicing for finding lost people.
“At the foot of the cross remembering that for one sinner Christ would have laid down His life, you may estimate the value of a soul,” Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 196. –RCS
Southern Union | January 2022