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Joy over one found sheep or coin

March 24, 2023

Daily Scripture

Luke 15:1-10

1 All the tax collectors and sinners were gathering around Jesus to listen to him. 2 The Pharisees and legal experts were grumbling, saying, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
3 Jesus told them this parable: 4 “Suppose someone among you had one hundred sheep and lost one of them. Wouldn’t he leave the other ninety-nine in the pasture and search for the lost one until he finds it? 5 And when he finds it, he is thrilled and places it on his shoulders. 6 When he arrives home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Celebrate with me because I’ve found my lost sheep.’ 7 In the same way, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who changes both heart and life than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need to change their hearts and lives.
8 “Or what woman, if she owns ten silver coins and loses one of them, won’t light a lamp and sweep the house, searching her home carefully until she finds it? 9 When she finds it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Celebrate with me because I’ve found my lost coin.’ 10 In the same way, I tell you, joy breaks out in the presence of God’s angels over one sinner who changes both heart and life.”

Daily Reflection & Prayer

The “Prodigal Son” story was the last of three stories Jesus told Pharisees and legal experts critical for him mixing with “tax collectors and sinners.” The first story (echoing Ezekiel 34:1-16) was about a shepherd who rescued one lost sheep. In the second story, a woman lost a real treasure. “The ten silver coins are most likely the woman’s ketubah, or dowry—the only money she brings into the marriage that is… hers even if the marriage is dissolved.” * Each coin was likely worth a day’s wages.

  • Pastor Bruce Larson wrote, “A shepherd once explained that sheep nibble their way into lostness. They move from one tuft of green grass to the next, sometimes right through a hole in the fence. When they’re done nibbling, they can’t find the hole and they’re lost. Some of us know what that is—to nibble ourselves bit by bit into the far country.” ** Have you ever been like the lost sheep, not sure how to get home? What “shepherd(s)” has God used to find you and guide you home?
  • The woman painstakingly searched in a dimly lit peasant home (remember, no electricity) with a straw-covered floor until she found the coin. Jesus ended these parables by saying, “Joy breaks out in the presence of God’s angels over one sinner who changes both heart and life.” Who are your “coins,” people you value enough to go out of your way to reach out to? Is there someone—family, friend, co-worker—you particularly sense Jesus calling you to “seek and find”?

Gracious God, you came in the person of Jesus to seek and save the lost. Come into my heart each day to guide me to lives you are still seeking. Amen.

GPS Insights

Lauren Cook

Lauren Cook

Lauren Cook is the Entry Points Program Director at Resurrection, a self-proclaimed foodie, a bookworm, and is always planning her next trip. She has the sweetest (and sassiest) daughter, Carolina Rae, a rockstar husband, Austin, and a cutie pup named Thunder. She loves connecting with others so let her know the best place you've ever eaten, best book you've ever read, or best place you've ever been!

Let me just start today by saying that these are some my favorite passages in the Bible and I am SO excited that I get to spend time reading them, praying over them, and talking about them with you! What a joy for this spring Friday!

All of us have different stories. We all have different narratives about our lives that we have created based off our lived experiences. We have family units who shaped us, family and peer dynamics that taught us about the world, and experiences that have molded our perspectives. Some of us have lived experiences that have taught us a definition about who God is and how He “functions”, with that definition or picture centering around God as an unforgiving parent who gets angry when we mess up and who casts us aside.

As a recovering perfectionist, I have often fallen prey to the idea that when I mess up, it’s game over. Those who were witness to, or affected by, my mistakes are going to wipe their hands clean of me. Why wouldn’t they? I failed, I disappointed them, I lost my way. I sometimes go so far as to even speed up the process by shutting down and hiding. It’s fun.

When I first read these passages (and the parable of the Prodigal Son), I felt an overwhelming sense of “this is way too good to be true”. Humans just don’t seek out the lost or love the sinners. Humans have expectations of each other, high standards others must meet. We don’t have time for chasing down and embracing failures.

And then there is God. Who breaks out in joy over the sinners who change their hearts and who want to come home, for the mistake-makers, the falling-shorter’s, the wander-astray-er’s (aka the all of us-er’s). My picture of God here? He is smiling out beams of sunlight, catching all of us up in the warmest kind of hug and the most loving embrace with the most tender “it’s okay, child”. God has desires for us and dreams for us, but He does not have expectations of perfection and achievement. He runs after us and pursues us with a never-ending, over-flowing, joyous kind of love. He will never wipe His hands clean of us. Are you breaking out with joy yet? Is your picture of God brightening a bit?

If you’re feeling like a failure today, or you’re feeling a little lost or you’ve gone astray, look outside. Can you see the sun? Maybe even go outside so that you can feel the rays of sunlight soaking into your skin. Breathe in the joy and delight of God in you, His child, who He loves more than anything. Lay down your burdens and your mess-up’s at His feet and know that you are enough, you are found, you matter, and you are so deeply loved. Be still, and know.

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

* Craig S. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament. Downer’s Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993, comment on Luke 15:8.
** Bruce Larson, The Preacher’s Commentary Series, Volume 26: Luke. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Inc. 1983, p. 235.