In some schools, institutions, large buildings, and activities involving large gatherings, there is usually a reserved place called “Lost and Found.” This is the place where those who find lost items bring them for safekeeping so that the owners may go and claim them. Losing one’s money, purse, key, document, phone, laptop, tablet, and sometimes, a child or other valuables can be a traumatic experience. Those who have lost and found their valuables are overwhelmed with joy.
Where there is a “Lost and Found,” one is hopeful that someone may find the lost item and take it there for safekeeping. The owner may not even know the finder who brought much happiness to him or her. Most of the time, however, things are lost in areas where there is no “Lost and Found.” That is when the owner has a serious problem at hand.
In Luke Chapter 15, Jesus talked about three parables regarding losses where there was no apparent “Lost and Found.” These were the Parable of the Lost Sheep, the Parable of the Lost Coin, and the Parable of the Lost Son, better known as the Parable of the Prodigal Son.
The Chapter begins with Jesus mingling with tax collectors and “sinners” who wanted to hear from him. The Pharisees and the teachers of the law were unhappy about that and started murmuring. That prompted Jesus to tell these parables to let them know that he welcomed sinners and ate with them.
Briefly, in the Parable of the Lost Sheep, Jesus asked the Pharisees and the teachers of the law if any of them would not leave his ninety-nine sheep and go and search for one lost sheep, and then rejoice upon finding the lost sheep. In the Parable of the Lost Coin, Jesus asked if a woman who loses one of her ten silver coins would not search very thoroughly until she finds it, and then rejoice after she finds it. And in the Parable of the Prodigal Son, the younger of two sons requested and received his share of inheritance from his father, and squandered it completely in a far country. After experiencing extreme hardships, the son realized his error and returned home expecting cold reception by his father, but was warmly welcomed with a celebratory reception by a father who had been anxiously hoping for the return of his dear lost son.
Through these three parables, Jesus took the opportunity to explain the pain, anguish, and efforts that God and people go through when they lose something of value. He used the opportunity to subtly inform them that he was in the business of finding and saving those who were lost, rejected or sinners. Jesus emphasized that there is more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who do not need repentance.
Coming to the realization that one is lost is important. Obviously, the coin did not know it was lost. The lost sheep may have initially considered itself lucky to have had all the grass in the open field to itself with no grazing competition from the other ninety-nine sheep. It may have realized it was lost much later. Similar to the sheep, the prodigal son may not have realized he was lost initially when he had his pocket full of money and having a wild time of his life in the far country. The reality set in after he spent all he had. In each of these three parables, the person who lost a sheep, coin, or son was unhappy throughout the time of the loss even if the lost items or person did not know it. The worry was real and continuous.
After God created man in His own image to complete the Creation, He said everything was very good (Genesis 1:31). However, Adam and Eve disobeyed God and subsequent generations of human beings disobeyed God and did all sorts of wicked and evil deeds against God’s wishes. As a result, God regretted that He had made man (Genesis 6:6).
Human beings were lost as far as God was concerned even though we did not know or admit it. While God was grieving about the broken relationship with human beings, and was seeking reconciliation, we were oblivious of it and were having a nice time.
Searching for the lost sheep or coin, and thinking about the lost son occupied the time and efforts of the owners and the father. The ninety-nine sheep and the nine coins were left behind in pursuit of the lost ones. We are the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the prodigal son. We do our own things for the most part and run to God only when we are at the end of our rope. Jesus, Our Great Shepherd, would not be satisfied or relent in his efforts until every lost sheep, lost coin, or prodigal son is found and accounted for.
As anyone who played the game of Hide and Seek as a child knows, the excitement was to hide so well that it took some time for the other children to seek and find you without losing interest. However, if you hid too well such that the seekers could not find you for a long time, they abandoned the search and you found yourself alone in hiding. The game was over because the children moved on to something else that was more exciting. Some of us are still playing Hide and Seek with God and are hiding too well, in a far country. It is time for us to show ourselves and declare that the game is over.
God is seeking, finding, and welcoming people in the “Lost and Found.” The prodigal son realized that he was lost and started to find his way back home. Unbeknownst to him, the father was waiting for him with open arms. Wherever you are in your lost condition, “if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deuteronomy 4:29 NIV). If you have been running and hiding in a far country in God’s plain sight, arise and come back home to the “Lost and Found,” and confess your sins to God the Father. God, through Our Lord Jesus Christ, will welcome you there, and celebrate with you, along with the angels in heaven.
Prayer is the key. May God grant us the grace to seek Him daily through our prayers.
Dr. Daniel Gyebi, Attorney-at-Law, Texas, U.S.A., and Founder, PrayerHouse Ministry, Kumasi, Ghana.
PrayerHouse Ministry is dedicated to providing a quiet facility for Christians to pray individually by themselves without any intermediary priest, pastor or any other person. This is a free service. No money is demanded or accepted. One facility is located at Kyerekrom / Fumesua, near Building and Road Research Institute Offices, one mile off the Kumasi-Accra Road and next to a house called Grace Castle. If you are interested, please contact Agnes at 054-7498653. Another is located at Kantinkyiren, at the junction of Kantinkyiren and Konkori, off the Kumasi-Obuasi Road, branching left at Trede junction. Contact Kwadwo at 020-8768461 / 0246-989413.