Our Gospel passage for this week is from Luke 15:1-10. In it, Jesus tells two parables about lost things. First, there is a parable about a lost sheep. The shepherd seeks out the lost sheep. It was completely normal for a shepherd to be with other shepherds or assistants. The bulk of the flock would stay together. Yet the dedicated shepherd would go away from his place of safety, away from the company of his other workers, and away from his shelter and provisions in order to find a lost sheep. Even if that sheep were injured or dead, the shepherd’s work would not be complete until he found it. Jesus pictures the shepherd as being a little eccentric. Have you ever seen a full grown sheep? More than that, have you ever put a full grown sheep on your shoulders to carry it, possibly several miles, over rough terrain, back to the flock? That may well be a large and heavy burden.
What about the woman who has lost a silver coin, representing a significant part of her life savings? Of course, she searches until she finds it. She also opens herself to the accusations of her neighbors, who would wonder how she managed to lose such a valuable item in the first place.
The overarching theme in this passage is God’s love for his lost creation. He will do what normal people will not. He will go to even greater lengths to recover what is lost than the most diligent person in the world.
Do we care about our career? Do we care about our investments? Do we care about our reputation in the community? Those are good and right. Yet Jesus here says that God cares even more about people who are entrapped in sin and who turn from it, repenting (being sorry), and asking for God’s forgiveness. He will go to any length needed to call us to his side, where we belong. This is the enormous love of God.
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