Today’s reading is longer than usual, as you may have noticed. The common theme is lost and found, so let’s take a look at that. Because Jesus uses three different parables for this message, I would say he’s pretty serious about this. It’s a topic that needs to be emphasized. Its part of our mission, to find the lost, so let’s dig in!
Before we begin, think of something you have lost. Maybe it’s as simple as a set of car keys. Picture the scene – you’re ready to leave for work or an important appointment and you can’t find your keys anywhere. Panic sets in. Your brain starts to shut down because you are frantic. I’ve often prayed, “Father, help me find them!” When you do find your “keys”, the rush of relief and joy quickly replaces your worry. There is a celebration going on.
These three parables are a beautiful glimpse at the heart of God. He loves us all so completely that when we are lost, missing out on a relationship with him, he is truly mourning. When we return to him, the rejoicing in heaven, with the angels, is a grand affair. Oh to be part of that celebration!
The parable of the lost son, or prodigal son as it is often called, may be so familiar to us we overlook some of it’s beauty. The father was filled with compassion and love, not anger. Despite the bad choices his son had made, he was welcomed home with open arms. The son expected punishment but got a party instead. So, too, our Heavenly Father is waiting for us to “come back” to him. His arms are open, his love knows no end. There is nothing we can do to separate us from God’s love.
It is never too late to return to the Father, so long as we have life and breath. The question is, why wait? Why put the celebration off and miss out on a beautiful life in relationship with our creator? Those missing out are only kidding themselves that everything is okay. If they were truly honest with themselves, they would admit they are lonely, and something deep inside is missing. It’s just so hard to explain, but those “lost” will recognize the emptiness.
The son in our story realized his mistakes and was willing to be a servant to have the emptiness filled. He came with an open, repentant heart, seeking forgiveness. What a beautiful model for us. We are sinful beings. How often do we come with an open heart seeking forgiveness of our loving Father?
Sometimes our sins are hidden to us. We sin without intention. Those sins may well be things we fail to do, rather than what we actually do. It is a good reminder for all of us that God stands by with open arms ready to love and forgive. His compassion will never fail, and his mercy endures forever.
By the first illustrations, we see how diligently and completely the lost is sought after. Is God seeking after you? Are you looking for something more to life? All three instances show the rejoicing going on when the lost is found! There is no keeping it quiet! Other than the coin, an inanimate object, those being found had to be relieved, secure, and definitely feeling the love!
What does it mean to you to be loved by the creator of all things? This is a love so deep it cannot even be described. You are loved like that. Spend time truly focusing on this promise. Say over and over, “I am loved. I am loved.” How does that make you want to respond?
Let’s pray. Heavenly Father thank you for loving me with a crazy love. I want to love you back with my whole heart. I want people to say, she really loves her Lord. May my life to reflect my worship. Help me to shut out voices of evil that include envy, worry, greed, selfishness, and anger. Together we are strong and will stand against those things. I pray for those souls who are lost to you, loved ones and others not fully devoted to you. I look forward to the day they return to you and will rejoice here on earth with you and the angels above. Use me to bring your loved ones back to you. I am on guard and ready for the assignment. May your Word and my reflections be glorified! In Jesus’ name. Amen.