Saturday, March 18, 2006

Lost and Found - Chapter 2

Not long ago, when I was teaching, one of my student's brought me a box of his treasured collection of coins. He had coins and notes from many different parts of the world. I could see that this collection was very special to him, and in his case, I have no doubt that if one of those coins went missing, he too would search thoroughly in case it had fallen out of his box. I'm sure Sean could easily identify with the woman in this parable.

"Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbours together and says "Rejoice with me; I've found my lost coin." In the same way, I tell you there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents." (Verses 8 -10)

Again, we see that the item that was lost was of value to the one who lost it. We live in a world of put downs. We live in a world that pays lip-service to equal rights for all. It is a world that wants to conform us to its image of beauty, value, or success. It's a hard world, we are told and you either have to "get with the system" or you will be brushed aside. If you want to be successful in life, we are told, you have to do things in a certain way (the non-God honouring way), you have to get one over your colleague, you have to lie, to cheat, or steal, and even kill if necessary - yes if you get get caught - you will face the full wrath of the law, but the trick is not to be caught, but if you are then, if you are wealthy, you can pay a lawyer to lie and to manipulate the law to get the outcome that you want.

Friends there is a day coming when everything that is done in secret, will be made plain and every unconfessed or secret sin will be brought into the light of day - exposed for all to see. But there is a better way friends, that is the way of repentance.

You see the world measures us according to our performance - and ascribes a value to us accordingly. But God is the one who made you, and he is the one who placed a value on us. Think about a coin. How do you know what value a coin has - it's easy - what does it say? - $1. 50p. R5.00 It's stamped on the coin at the time that it is minted, and whether the coin is shining new, or twenty years old, it maintains its value. God has stamped His image on you, and you have a value to him. Yes, you may fall and get mixed up in the dirt to the extent that it is hard to see you in the dust. But you are still worth a great deal to God and He will keep looking until He finds you. Like Sean's collection of coins, we can tell not only what the face value of the coin is, but also its country of origin. Friend you are a person of great worth - the Bible says that we are "fearfully and wonderfully made" (Ps 139:14) Not only did our Lord make us with such great care, but he made us with a clear purpose in mind. Jer 29:11 says: "For I know the plans I have for you" declares the Lord, " plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Has someone ever said to you or implied that you were "an accident" or the result of an unplanned pregnancy. I want you to know that no matter how much of a surprise you were to your parents, your birth was no accident. God created you deliberately and he has placed a great value on your life.

Let us think about what the woman does to find her coin. She lights a lamp. In Psalm 119:105 - it says "Thy word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path. " It may be that there are issues in your life that need closer examining - Bring the light of God's Word to the subject and you'll be amazed at what He brings to light. If you are dealing with an area of temptation, go to the Scriptures - Jesus did each time he was tempted by Satan, He said, "It is written." Where is it written, - In the Scriptures. The light of God's Word will reveal two things:
1) Where you (the coin that is lost) are.
2) Your true value.
The woman also swept the house. Maybe Jesus needs to do some sweeping in your life. Maybe there is so much mess in there that it is obscuring your true value - nobody can see God's image that is engraved into you. Just like the woman, Jesus is willing to sweep your house clean. You can't do it. But He can, and He will if you let him.
I really feel that I need to stress that you do not derive your value from the things you do, but that value comes because You were created in God's likeness- His image is on the coin that is you. That image is on every coin that is minted (Every person who is created, regardless of their religion or background bears the image of God - from the moment of conception, but every coin is different.) You are different to everybody else that exists. You may want looks like the person you idolise, but that is to deny your own individual value. This has two lesson for us:

1) You are valuable and special to God and He has created you for a special purpose.

2) Everyone you know know and those you don't know as well all bear God's image and are wonderfully and fearfully made for a certain purpose. Now the exterior may look a little less value, but in God's eyes - everyone has a special role and we must not underestimate how God can use people who seem to be less capable than we are.

I have a friend called Joy, and she has Down's Syndrome, and yet she has taught me many a lesson in the Spirit, through her love and simple faith in Christ.

It's possible friend that you have felt lost. You feel that you are not wanted, tossed aside like some insignificant coin that when it falls to the ground the owner doesn't even notice. You might feel that like that lost coin lying in the dust or in the street, people walk all over you, and take you for granted. It is possible my friend, that many of the people you see each day, and the people you work with, don't even know your name. And yet the truth is, God not only knows your name, but he knows everything about you, every experience you have had, has not gone unnoticed, and God wants you for His own. He will pick you, wash you and display with pride. He says "This is my treasured possession." "I love her" "I love him."

The Lord says in Jeremiah 33:3 "Call to me and I will answer and tell you great and unsearcheable thing you do not know."
Are you lost? Call on the Lord. He has promised that he will answer you.

Have a great week! "Stay tuned" for the next exciting chapter of "Lost and Found!"

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