When I worked in public schools as a school teacher and counselor, we always had a "Lost and Found" box in the school office. It was usually underneath a cabinet somewhere and when a sweater or shoes or jewelry came into the office and no one claimed it, those items were placed in that box in hopes that the owner would show up and claim them. Many times, items would remain in the box until the school year ended and then if no one claimed them they would be donated to a charity or given away to anyone who wanted them. Sometimes there would be some really nice items in the box, things that people would surely want to find but for some reason no one came forward to claim them so the things would find a new home somewhere else.
Jesus told parables about things that were lost. This week we will think about a lost coin that a woman lost in her house and she could not be satisfied until she had swept the house and searched carefully. When she finally found the coin, then she called her neighbors and told them the good news so they could rejoice with her. Another parable is about a lost sheep that a shepherd lost, one of 100, but the shepherd that one was so important that he would leave 99 sheep behind to go out and search for the one that was lost. He also would call his neighbors and friends and tell them about his find so that they could rejoice with him.
In both parables, Jesus sums them up with "there is joy in heaven" over one person who repents and finds his way even though there are many who have never been lost. The angels in heaven rejoice when this happens.
Many people are lost and do not realize it. They go through life and live each day but there is a feeling that something is missing and they do not know what it is. They think that life is mostly complete but in the course of a day there is always a moment when they realize that a gap exists in their life. They are lost in the sense that something needs to be added and they do not know what it is. Many times people will describe their lives as "like a jigsaw puzzle with one piece missing". They cannot put their finger on what it is but they know something is not right.
Jesus' parables about things that are lost and found emphasize that God is constantly looking for us. When we are like that lost sheep, he values us so much that he will leave everyone else behind just to find us. When we are like that lost coin, he will search everywhere to locate us and not be satisfied until we are found. When finally we are located, then God send out the call for everyone to rejoice because finding a lost one is reason enough for a celebration.
We are so valuable to God that God will not give up on us. God will keep looking until we can be found and then when finally we are in God's view, He comes running down the road to meet us as he sees us in the distance.....oh, that is another parable. We will save that one for next week.