Welcome back to our ongoing series, I DARE YOU. This is our look at the unique parables of Jesus Christ from the four Gospels found in the New Testament. Once a week, we will examine one of Christ’s stories and let his challenge to his first-century audience speak to us now and provoke us to live in the Kingdom of God better, more fully, more wholeheartedly. We see these parables as dares to step outside of the norm of the world and enter into what God has for us. We hope that you will be likewise challenged and that you will take the dare to live a more Christlike, Kingdom of God-focused life.
We’ve mentioned before in this series that sometimes Jesus told parables in threes. This is the case as found in Matthew 13. There the recorded parables are the parable of the Sower or Soil, the parable of the Weeds, and the parable of the Mustard Seed.
And it is also the case in Luke 15, where we find the parables of the Lost Sheep, the Lost Coin, and the Lost Son, otherwise known as the Prodigal Son. With the three parables running one into the other, Jesus is making a point through repetition. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t things to learn from each parable separately. We’ve look at the Lost Son and the Lost Sheep.
Now, we need to learn something from the Lost Coin.
“Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins 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 15:8-10
The parable of the Lost Coin is among the most neglected parables. Not that I can blame people. It is only two verses. And as we’ve mentioned, it is sandwiched between two of the most popular parables in the Bible. Even those that do not profess any faith know about the Prodigal Son.
But that doesn’t excuse our neglect of Jesus’ words. Remember that. These are Jesus’ words. He chose to tell this parable. There is something there worth learning, worth being reminded of. Even if it is a ‘similar’ parable to the one that proceeds and succeeds it. These two verse deserve our attention.
This woman must have been so inconvinced because of this one coin. I mean she did have nine others. But the fuss that she had to go through…
Apparently it was dark because she needed a lamp. That would mean she had to find the lamp in the dark. Then light it. Then hope that there was enough wick and oil to burn. If not, she would have had to get more oil, get a new wick, all so that she can see.
Then she started sweeping. And it isn’t just a sweep of the kitchen floor so that the dog hair isn’t balling up in the corner. This is the furious sweep of a woman trying to move any loose dust and dirt that may be hiding a silver coin beneath it. So, it’s back and forth in one spot, then back and forth in another. Then moving over slightly to overlap where you just were because you don’t want piles of dirt everywhere, or a place for that Lost Coin to hide.
After all the sweeping, she starts looking. And in my mind, she is looking for it like a mother looks for a child’s toy, when that child is screaming at the top of their lungs. It is a frantic search. Lifting everything that could be lifted. Moving anything that might be on top of it. Looking in places that, logically, shouldn’t be a place for a toy (or a coin). Then rechecking the places that you just looked, in case you missed it somehow the other times that you were rechecking.
All of this for a coin. A single coin. When she has nine more just like it. How inconvenient?
Not at all. Not when you know and recognize the worth, the value, of that single coin.
It’s very easy to talk about loving people and showing Jesus to people. What makes it easy? The very vague and open terms that we use. Love “those people”. Love “your enemies”. I can vaguely and passively love ‘whoever my enemies’ are from anywhere. I don’t even have to be near them. I don’t need to go outside of my comfort zone. I don’t need to give any effort. I don’t need to be inconvienced at all. Because my enemies, those people, are just a bunch over there.
They are a handful of persons. They are a bag full of coins. All the same, all nameless and faceless. We call them a group or reduce them to an economic class. We use politically correct terms to define and classify the lot of them, and give them platitudes. Like ‘Jesus loves you.’
Then we pat ourselves on the back because we loved a faceless, nameless group of strangers, and act like we’re doing God’s will. Or showing the love of Jesus.
That isn’t what this parable says at all.
Until we define who they are, until we become very specific about who we are to love, we are going to fail to show it right.
We need to see the specific, named person, the individual as one unique soul. One, yes of a group, but one that is special and important and valuable all by itself. We need to see people as a lost coin. Something that is worth searching for, worth hunting down, worth squawering a house for.
Worth being inconvienced for.
Jesus dares us to see people as worthy of being inconvienced for.
HOW WE GOT HERE
It sounds like a strange statement. Probably could be worded better. But that is exactly what I hear when I look at this parable. Jesus wants us to see people, the individual, as worth our time, our energy, our efforts, like a woman searching for a lost coin.
Because he sees us as worthy of being inconvienced.
“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” – Romans 5:6-11
When we were powerless…what good is something if there is no power? We throw out batteries when they die, because they are powerless.
When we were sinners…why would a holy, pure, sinless God want me, a person of unholiness, impurities, and sinfulness? I am the complete opposite of God.
When we were enemies…why would anyone willfully offer anything to someone that hates you, that despises you, does everything the opposite of you, rejects you on every level?
God must see value in me, a sinner, a powerless one, an enemy, to go out of his way to save and love me. God must think I’m worth the incovience to send his son to reconcile me.
God sees me, God sees you, God sees everyone as a lost coin. Something that He knows has value. Not because of your relationship to someone else. Not because you are one of those people, or part of that group. God sees you as valueable because you are you. He made you. He loves you.
And he will anything to find you, a lost coin.
Jesus dares us to feel the same, and act the same for the other lost coins.
Every night, after my wife and I have prayed for our kids, we speak truths over them. We want their last thoughts before bed to be life giving and life affirming.
We say them separately, sometimes repeating certain things, like “you are love”, “you are smart”, or “you are beautiful/handsome.” But there is one my wife says all the time, to all three kids.
You are worth something. You are worth our time, our energy, our love, our everything. You matter to us. You matter to your family. You matter to God.
It’s a small thing, but it holds great truth, and a very easy way to start seeing people as worthy of incoviencing us.
Tell them that they matter. Maybe out loud, if you are a extrovert with no problems explaining why you just said that to a stranger. Maybe inside, over and over, so that the truth of their value softens your heart and your actions (As an introvert, that’s the one I’m leaning towards).
God sees everyone, you, me, sinner, saints, our families, our enemies, all as worthy of being inconvienced. God looks at us and loves us. That’s why the parable ends with a party being thrown.
The lost coin is found. The lost coin and it’s value have been seen and recognized. And it is appreciated for all that it is worth.
May we start to see others as worthy, as worthwhile, as people that deserve the love of God.
All Scripture references provided by Biblegateway.com Be sure to check them out if you are looking for a verse, some commentaries to help you understand a passage, or a devotional to keep you in the Written Word every day. Or for those on the go, check out their app, available at the App Store, Google Play, and Amazon Fire.
Photo credit: Parable of the Lost Drachma, Dominica Fetti, circa 1618
This article first appeared on Christian Thought Sandbox.