Monday, July 18, 2011

That's Some Coin!

Luke 15:8 Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it? 9 And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost. 10 Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.

Finding this one piece of silver was cause for great rejoicing. She still had nine other coins, but for this one, she got a flashlight, swept her house and tenaciously searched until she came up with it.

Then, she called a party! I have always wondered if the resulting party didn't cost more than the value of the coin itself. I mean, a typical silver coin now is worth just a few dollars. A decent party is going to cost the value of that coin many times over. So what's the deal?

One, that coin was part of a set of ten. Its disappearance meant the set was incomplete. When it was discovered, the rejoicing was not only on the behalf of the single coin, but for the entire body of coins. The value of the whole was increased by each of its parts.

Two, as long as that one coin was missing, so was normality, function and complete joy and satisfaction. Yes, nine coins remained safely tucked away in their display case, but as long as that one was AWOL, there would always be a dark cloud of sadness over the soul of the owner. There would never be complete piece of mind as long as she knew one was missing, one was lost, one was uncared for, one was being tarnished.

Three, this coin had some value to her that others could not understand. Perhaps there was a sentimental value attached to the silver piece. Maybe it was passed down from previous generations, or it was gifted to her by someone special. Possibly, it represented one month's rent, or it was her designated tithe (one of ten) and its loss meant God would not be honored or a future rent payment would not be made. No mention is made of a husband or children, therefore, money was hard to come by.

And so, she was so relieved when she finally found where it had fallen and rolled that she decided she would spare no other expense to rejoice, even bringing in the neighbors to share in her joy.

I am picturing the neighbor kids out back poking a piñata. I can imagine the adults milling around the freshly swept house, with Kool-Aide in one hand and a couple of Fig Newtons in the other. I can see the teens in one of the bedrooms working on their latest dance moves. All of this happiness being shared because one lady found one coin and now, everything seems pretty okay today.

Can you make the obvious applications?
The lost coin represents either a lost or straying soul. The woman represents God, or maybe even a pastor, possibly a parent or Sunday school teacher. Though they have others to love and care for, they greatly value the individual.

One, when one soul goes astray, the entire church/family/class is lacking a vital asset. Each person brings a great deal to the table. The one who decides to seek greener pastures has no idea of the sadness, loneliness and lack they leave behind. The whole set is in want when one "falls through the cracks." A body is not complete and functional as long as one body part is severed from the rest.

Two, although that rest of the set (the church, family, class, etc.) will somehow go on without the prodigal coin, it will never be the same. Lingering in the back of the minds of the others will always be that sad feeling of "something's missing." The fellowships will never be quite complete, the parties can never have as much joy. The sheepfold will produce less wool, the coin collection will always show an empty spot, the brotherhood will long for the younger son who is off feeding with the swine.

And three, though others may say, "its only one person, no big deal." God in heaven, the pastor in his study, the mom in the kitchen and the teacher in her classroom know that one soul is worth more than the entire world. “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”

This is what causes a shepherd to leave 99 sheep in the fold to go out into the wilderness to find one stray lamb. This is what causes a grieving, praying dad set daily on his front porch, keeping an eye on the road. This is what causes a woman to hire Merry Maids to do a deep cleaning of the whole house so they might find that valued silver dollar. And this is what would cause God to send His only Son all the way from heaven's glory to die on a gory cross.

You are that lamb/prodigal son/coin/soul. Isn't it time to be found? The piñatas are being hung from the tree of life in heaven. The angels are working on their dance moves. Trays of Fig Newtons are being set out on the banquet tables. The party is ready to get started, they are waiting for just one thing...for you to be found.

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