Chapter fifteen is likely the most famous chapter in Luke’s gospel. Church folks may not know the chapter number. They may not even know it is in Luke, but everyone who has been in the Church for a while knows the parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and especially, the lost boy.
For years, all my writing was done with a pen – and even now, a pen is important to me. Most of mine are expensive, and have been gifts from loved ones who know me well. Most of the time, I carry the same type of pen I have been using since college – the same model I have given my boys at their college graduation. Today, however, I have lost that pen.
It’s just a pen.
But we’ve been co-workers for many many years and I feel the loss.
Ever feel like that about something you’ve mislaid?
The key here in that “something” is the word “thing.” We all know what it is like to lose some “thing” of importance to us – and the joy of finding it after believing it was forever gone. Even Pharisees knew that feeling.
What is more important, however, is the loss of a person, and all too often, after some falling out with a family member or good friend, it’s all too easy to write them off, or make impossible demands for reconciliation.
But God isn’t like that.
Twice Jesus comments on the greater rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who is returned to holy fellowship than over 99 others who played by the rules and never left. God dearly loves the penitent. What He’s not wild about are his sons and daughters who believe the forgiveness they give is more valuable and should be less available than that granted by the Lord.
Such people will discover that the forgiveness they need will be hard to receive.