In the story of the lost coin, the coin didn’t lose itself. A woman who had ten silver coins lost one. Was she so busy she forgot where she’d placed it? Did she take her eyes off her treasure for only a moment—and a thief snatched it? Did she trip, spilling all her coins onto the floor, where one rolled out of sight? Did an addiction cause her to gamble away a part of her money—and then even more, in a desperate attempt to win it back?
Some people are lost not because of something they willfully did, but because of a place they fell into or circumstances beyond their control. They are lost because of the words of an insensitive teacher, the neglect of an absent parent, the malice of an abuser. Maybe they’ve been abducted by a trafficker who sees them not as persons but as commodities to be bought and sold to the highest bidder. Maybe a corrupt ruler has mismanaged all of his country’s resources, leaving the innocent poor with no food, water, health care, education, or basic human services. In any case, the lost are people who have lost their purpose, their potential, perhaps even their destiny.
This might be a single mom whose income pays only some of the bills and is maxing out her credit cards to cover the rest of her family’s necessities. Or this might be the couple working so hard at their jobs and managing their home that they’re drifting apart, and the intimacy of their marriage is being lost. Or this could be the CEO who has worked his way to the top of the corporate ladder—but is experiencing dissatisfaction and malaise.
The one may be someone who has lived a life of crime that has landed him in jail. The one may be someone who has willfully hurt another. The one may be selfish, addicted, immoral, and arrogant. He or she may be a mocker, scoffer, murderer, or prostitute. If our example is Jesus, we should remember that he stood up for a woman caught in adultery, a greedy, dishonest tax collector, and the thief hanging on the cross next to him. Jesus didn’t distinguish between those lost because of circumstances beyond their control and whose who willfully and willingly put themselves there.
God’s heart beats for every lost person every single second of every single day. That’s what he wants us to remember. We, too, were once lost, but now we are found. And because we’ve been found, he has called us to be part of his search-and-rescue team.
Point to Ponder
Are you willing to take the light God brought to you to illuminate your own rescue, to others? Carrying the light is the only reason God would send you back into the dark.