When I was a boy, I lived in a rough housing estate. My family were quite poor and did not have many valuables. However, one time my mother received a Churchill crown (a coin), considered to be valuable. When I was a young teenager, my mother took me aside one day, and entrusted the Churchill crown to my safe keeping, I hid it in an old piece of furniture. I forgot all about it for several years, when it was raised at a family gathering, I could not account for it. I knew that I had not sold it or disposed of it, someone in the family had taken it! I became the butt of family jokes, such as do not give anything to him to look after, look what happened to the Churchill crown! The stigma of an unjust accusation hung over me for many years. On my 40th birthday one of my sisters gave me a Churchill crown as a present. I think I know who had previously taken it! Anyway, the fact I had a replacement for my family treasure made me incredibly happy.
What about you?
Have you ever lost something valuable, and then had it returned you, if so, how did you feel?
There are three short stories in Luke’s Gospel about valuable things that went missing:
Luke 15:3 Then Jesus told them this parable: 4 “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? 5 And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6 and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbours together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ 7 I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.
Lost silver coin
8 “Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it?9 And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbours together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ 10 In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
Lost son (prodigal son)
11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So, he divided his property between them.
13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living.14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let us have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So, they began to celebrate.
Like the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the prodigal son you are very valuable to God, if you turn towards him, God will run out to you, and there will be rejoicing in heaven over you.