I recently misplaced my iPod for a period of four days. I was TRAUMATIZED (and that is NOT an exaggeration!). Me!? Without music?! The earth must be tilted on its axis, the stars are about to fall, and the sun is reversing its tracks across the sky - I mean, this is catacylsmic. But, it got me to thinking...(doesn't take much, does it?) The Bible tells three parables in Luke 15 about three different lost items: a coin, a sheep and a son. Cutting to the chase: each item was lost, each was found, and each time - there was great rejoicing. However, each situation was different.
THE COIN: The coin was lost and didn't know it was lost. Similar to my iPod, the coin was hiding under a table somewhere minding its own business, totally oblivious that its master was frantically searching for it. But searching the Master was and when the coin was found, there was great rejoicing over its discovery. (Luke 15:9)
THE SHEEP: Now, the sheep was also lost and knew it was lost, but couldn't do anything to change its situation. It got distracted, wandered away from the safe path and ended up in a gulley, trapped and unable to escape. Knowing it was lost, it called out for help and the Shepherd, who was looking for it, heard its cry, found it, rescued it and brought it back to the fold. Again, according to Luke 15:7, there was great rejoicing.
THE SON: We all know this story. The son of a wealthy man decided that living in his father's house wasn't grand enough. He wanted his inheritance so he could make his own way in the world. Chafing at the rules imposed by the Father, he wanted the big city, bright lights and fast women of the world beyond the gates of His Father's house. Because true love allows you to make choices - good ones and bad ones - the Father gave the son his riches and allowed him to leave. The son squandered his inheritence on fast cars, fast women, fast friends - and when the money and good times were all gone, they left him - homeless, hungry, filthy and tending pigs. The son realized that he'd sunk to the lowest of all places - he realized and recognized that he was lost - and decided to humble himself, go back to his father's house and beg for a place - not in the house, but as a servant in the stables. He didn't know it when he started his journey home, but His Father was waiting for his return - with open arms, a warm robe and a feast of celebration. Luke 15:24 (NIV) says, "and they began to celebrate."
So, why is it important to remember these parables? Because, no matter where you are in your "lost" condition (and we all lost in some way or another): whether you are totally oblivious to your condition; you know it but cannot seem to move out of your situation; or you know you are lost and are beginning to come to your senses about the whole thing: The Master, The Shepherd, The Father is searching for you, waiting for you - and has a party planned in your honor. That's a wonderful thing to hold onto in these turbulent times.