Read: Luke 15:1-10
Make no mistake, Jesus’ call to discipleship is serious and it begins with repentance. The decision to repent is significant. The first domino to fall in a succession of events we like to call sanctification. Luke recalls two of the many parables Jesus used to teach this point: the lost sheep and the lost coin.
Before we jump in, let’s not miss the prompt for these two lessons:
Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. Luke 15:1
Jesus is once again mingling with those who are looked down upon by the Pharisees and teachers of the law. He hangs out in places where they gather, eats with them, knows them by name — and they know Jesus. The true “least of these” are those who are lost. They might be wealthy or poor, part of a big family or an orphan. Whatever the social status, Jesus sees through the facade, straight to the heart, and knows them.
His first call is to repentance, to find those who are lost.
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. There is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.Luke 15:7, 10
Two Parables, One Lesson
Lately, we’ve been singing Reckless Love, a wonderful song that embraces the overwhelming reckless love of God. Part of the chorus comes from the parable of the lost sheep where Jesus explains what everyone in the crowd gather knows is true: when a sheep wanders away, the shepherd leaves the ninety-nine to go and find it. Likewise, the woman who loses her silver coin doesn’t rest until she finds the lost coin. In both cases they, along with their friends, celebrate! This is a great day! The lost are found!!
Invest Time With the Lost
How can we expect to find those who are lost if we don’t invest time with them? And by investing time, I mean building relationships, not preaching at them. I can imagine screaming at the wandering sheep as it bolts away from the heard — not very effective.
In our busy schedules, our crazy lifestyle of go, go, go, until we drop, have we spent time with the ninety-nine or the one? Have we counted nine silver coins over and over again, or have we turned on the lights to find the one?
Suppose one of you…
These two short stories begin with the phrase, “Suppose one of you…” Think about it. Act on the thought. Love God. Love yourself. Love others. Go find the one and let’s celebrate!