In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
–1 John 4:10
Jesus told two parables in Luke 15:3-10 to illustrate God’s attitude toward lost people. The first parable is about a sheep. Verse 4 says, “What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?”
If a shepherd loses a sheep, does he say, “Sheep, if you want to wander away, so be it. I hope you get eaten by a wolf”? No. He leaves the other sheep to search for that one, and he rejoices when he finds it. Verse 7 says, “In the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.”
Then Jesus said in verse 8, “Or what woman, if she has ten silver coins and loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it?” She does not say to the coin, “If you want to escape from me, so be it. I will just keep the other nine.” No, she searches for that which is lost.
In these parables, I find two common themes. First of all, lost things have value. The shepherd and the woman did not write off their losses and move on. No, they valued those things which were lost. In the same way, even though we are infected with sin the moment we are born, we are still of great value to God. In fact, you are of such value to God that God was willing to pay the ultimate price to redeem you in sending His own Son, Christ, to die for you.
The second theme in these parables is the activity of a loving God. In each case, the one who lost something took the initiative in searching for that which was lost. That coin that was lost under the sofa cushion did not awaken one day and say, “You know, it is dark and moldy down here. I think I want to go back into the woman’s purse.” No, the woman took the initiative in searching for the lost coin. It is the same way with us. We do not wake up one day and say, “You know what? I am lost. I think I want to be saved.” It does not work that way. We are not the ones who take the initiative in our salvation; it is God who always takes the first step. Romans 5:8 says, “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” We did not go searching for Jesus; God came running after us.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “The Value Of Lost Things” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2008.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org