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Jun 23, 2019

Short Stories, Big Lessons: Lost and Found

Short Stories, Big Lessons: Lost and Found

Passage: Luke 15:1-10

Speaker: Pastor Chris Riedel

Series: Short Stories, Big Lessons

Category: Faith, kindness

Keywords: lost and found, parables

Lost and Found, the Parable of Jesus. Have you ever felt lost, even in the midst of a crowd?

Scripture: 

Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them...” “Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins[a] and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.  In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
- Luke 15:1-2, 8-10

Devotional:

I’m not sure this happens to other people, but when I hear the words of Jesus, I often try and think of people who exemplify the point He’s trying to get across. Tragically the person who most exemplifies this parable, to me, died this week from breast cancer.   

Stephanie Price was two years ahead of me and attended my childhood church. Steph, as everyone called her, had one defining characteristic that manifested whenever she entered a room, she had a striking appearance.  With her good looks, Steph could move in any social circle she chose to. She could mix with the elites of middle school and high school. And to some extent, she did. But it was not in her character to exclude. Steph was a friend to everyone. And not just surface politeness, she had close friends from every part of the social strata. In her eyes, all people were of equal value. And she collected many “lost coins”. I was one of those coins. 

In my adolescence, Steph could always be counted on as a friend. Merely being her friend bolstered my social standing. But she helped me during some very hard times. She was there for me when my mother suffered a stroke. She worked with me tirelessly when I struggled with reading and had to write a book report on a 600 page book on the history of China. But those are mere anecdotes, mostly she was just a great listener, who did not have a judgmental bone in her body. 

I was struck this week when the bad news came rolling in over Facebook, how many “lost coins” Steph had collected over the years. Posting after posting repeated the same refrain, when I was lost, Steph reached out to me. 

Why do I share the story of this particular friend?  Because I see this as the essence of this story. The religious elites of Jesus’ time were annoyed, or even angry, with the company he chose to keep. He continually crossed social lines to reach out to the unlovable.   

I am left with a couple of questions: How do I spend my social capital? Do I use my gifts to raise my own status, or do I use it to pull up those in need? 

Prayer:

Jesus, You did not see it below Yourself to inhabit our world. You saw value and worth in everyone You encountered. Help us to see the world with Your eyes and to seek out the lost and the hurting. Amen 

Written by Ben Roberts. Ben is a Congregational Care Minister and leads one of the Men's Ministry groups. He lives in Ashburn with his wife Jennifer and their son Ethan.