Worth the Effort?! – Parable of the Lost Coin

The Pharisees and the Scribes began to grumble, saying “This man receives sinners and eats with them!” So Jesus told them this parable saying, “8 What woman, if she has ten silver coins and loses one, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? 9 And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, “Rejoice with me for I have found the coin which I had lost!” 10 In the same way I tell you, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels over one sinner who repents” Luke 15:8-10

Jesus’ unique choice of an inanimate object is significant (one drachma, a silver coin was worth a day’s wages). Notice one sheep was lost and couldn’t help it – its nature and desperate need. The son was lost and had to realize it – his true worth in relation to his father. Here we find a lifeless, irresponsive coin that was lost and didn’t even know it! There are unreached people groups like this in the world today and that’s why there can be no mission without compassion!      Against the social mindset, Jesus chooses as hero an unimpressive, poor peasant female at work in an ordinary nonreligious [house] setting. The Pharisees considered women to be of little worth, almost like household dogs! Although she had nine others, the woman’s anxiety and painstaking efforts highlight one compelling point. We have a seeking God, who cares and actively makes – in Christ made – every effort to reach out to seek and save the lost, at any cost!

After turning her house inside out to find one precious coin, the woman’s joy is uncontainable. Jesus’ desired outcome is singular. He longs for callous religious leaders/members to repent and turn to God realizing all God’s mission-minded children long to see one sinner repent. Rather than complain they ring heaven’s bells and send shooting stars into space.  Don’t Hide Go, Seek!

1. The Worth of that which is lost (15:1-2, 8)

Jesus’ primary audience was Pharisees who were self-righteous and cold-hearted the way they valued less religious folk of their day. The woman’s lost drachma (Greek silver coin equivalent to a Roman Denarius roughly a day’s wages) literally means desirable! Did you know this coin was probably part of the poor woman’s ketubah or dowry treasured towards her marriage often worn to complete her headgear or necklace? She was in a real sense incomplete without it and in a shame-honor society, her future depended on it! Beyond missing it, she knew that one coin’s true value and preciousness in relation to her family, future and personally felt responsible to search for it! God is not willing any perish but all come to repentance, are you? He has done everything possible, in Jesus shedding his blood, to buy back sinners. What are we willing to do?

2. The Work of seeking the lost (15:8)

Jesus referred to his mission as finishing the work the father had sent him to do. Seeking the lost is hard work! It means personal obligation and missio Dei always has a sense of urgency. This mission is now entrusted to all believers whom Jesus sends into a lost world! There are more verbs and details in this parable on the task of seeking the lost than Jesus’ other two. Notice the many methods and effort made: lighting an oil lamp, getting on her hands and knees, sweeping the dirt floors of the whole house, ‘carefully’ searching, from one corner of each room without leaving a crack, crevice or furniture item unturned. There is great perseverance with hope “until” the coin that which rightly belongs to her is securely repossessed! She seeks until… she finds it!

Although dim and hardly sufficient, light, representing divine revelation is required to redeem the lost at any cost. Yes, lot of emotional and physical effort is involved in dark, dirty places! Jesus expects his followers, like this woman to do “whatever it takes” until the lost are found. Since Adam Judeo-Christianity is the only faith with a Seeking God! Children of this God redeemed by his Son and filled with his missionary Spirit must work while it is yet day!

3. The Wonder of “once lost,” but now sought and found! (15:9-10)

Although her one silver coin is found, the woman’s mission was not yet complete until there was both an invitation to others to join her in celebration. Jesus uses this to illustrate the kind of party – no complains only genuine, pure joy that is characteristic of candidates that belong to his Father’s house and are invested in a heavenly home. They possess an unstoppable joy C.S. Lewis described as “the serious business of heaven!” Angels seek to understand and long to experience this joy over “so great a salvation” when one lost sinner repents and is found. The salvation of souls is always accompanied by a glorious joy – uncontainable and contagious. It was for this joy set before him that Jesus – a man of sorrows – endured the cross and despised the shame. In spite of what is happening around us, followers of Jesus, find the joy of the Lord as our strength for what? To do our Father’s good pleasure by seeking the lost at any cost, while we can! This is sharing God’s heartbeat for the lost, making his joy complete and name glorious!

Jesus wants all who professed to know him and the God of the Bible as the Pharisee claimed to hear this parable and to ask ourselves three questions:  (1) Am I lost without the nature of this God of all compassion who seeks sinners? (2) Have I lost the joy of my salvation without the wisdom and wonder of soul-winning? (3) What specific efforts costing my time, money, energies and other resources, am I willing you make to seek out the lost? Don’t Hide, Let’s Go Seek!