This past Tuesday Vicki surprised me by stopping by the office announcing we were going on a picnic to the park. So off to the park we went. Arriving at the park, we decided to park along the bank of the Rock River so that we could eat our lunch on the bank overlooking the river. We had a delightful time together sharing in the beauty of God’s creation as we feasted on our sweet onion chicken teriyaki subs piled high with lettuce, provolone and pepper jack cheese, mayo, honey mustard, black olives, green peppers and spinach (yeah right, actually just plain ham and cheese on a toasted bun).
Anyway, after we were finished we packed up, dumped our garbage, and headed back to the car which was only about ten feet away. And wouldn’t you know it; we got in the car and couldn’t find the keys. So, out of the car and back to the riverbank, we searched everywhere but still couldn’t find the keys. Vicki frantically scavenged through her purse while I calmly dismantled the interior of the car searching for the keys. Still nothing, so Vicki headed back to our picnic site. By now, I’m becoming more and more flummoxed (I know, look it up in the dictionary J), when all of a sudden it dawned on me to look in the garbage can. Sure enough, when cleaning up I had erroneously scooped up the car keys with the garbage. I was careless with the keys that had been entrusted to me. I didn’t steward them well and the result was they got lost.
As we were driving away, feeling full of joy having found the keys, I thought of Jesus’ parable of the “Lost Coin” in Luke 15. It goes like this, “8-10″Or imagine a woman who has ten coins and loses one. Won’t she light a lamp and scour the house, looking in every nook and cranny until she finds it? And when she finds it you can be sure she’ll call her friends and neighbors: ‘Celebrate with me! I found my lost coin!’ Count on it—that’s the kind of party God’s angels throw every time one lost soul turns to God.” (Luke 15:8-10 The Message)
This story, of course, is more than just a story about a woman who couldn’t find her coin. This parable is about someone who was careless with what God had entrusted to them. Yes, we are all born in a state of lostness, but the reason so many people remain lost is because their parents and other loved ones were careless with the people who were entrusted to their care.
I think of the time that Jesus was lost. Imagine what it would’ve been like for Joseph and Mary to be entrusted with the Son of God and having to tell God that they lost his son. I also think of the child whose parents aren’t diligent in teaching their children about the importance of following Jesus, and so they become lost. I think of children who are abused by those they trusted most and so they wander from God. I’ve already come to discover that some of you have had parents who were careless with you; they didn’t steward you as a gift from God and therefore there was a season in your life that you were lost.
Well, praise God that he relentlessly pursues us until he finds us. Praise God that he is patient, wishing that none would perish, but that everyone would repent. Could it be that you know of someone who is lost because their parents or friends were careless with them? Maybe God could use you to reach out in order to find them. Or maybe you need to admit and apologize to one of your children because you were careless with them.
Whatever the case, may you and I be sensitive towards, and passionate about keeping our eyes open for lost people. They may be closer than you think. And may we with great joy celebrate with those who were once lost, but now have been found.
Rejoicing over more than lost keys, Mike