"Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.' In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents."
Several times I have dropped change as I paid the person in the drive-thru window. When I drop a penny, I let it go. When I drop a nickel, I let it go. When I drop a dime, I let it go. If I drop a quarter, I put the car in neutral, open the door and try to find the fallen quarter.
Ever done that?
If you have done that you know what you find when you go down their - lots of pennies, nickels and dimes.
Why is that that? There seems to be sort of inherent value system coded into our psyche that determines whether the reward gained is worth the effort expended. Simply stated, I am only going to do something if I think it is worth the effort. You, too.
That is the 800 pound gorilla in these three parables. We decide what we will do or don't do based on how much we value something or someone.
The shepherd ventures out into the wilderness because he values the lost sheep more than he values his own comfort.
A woman grabs and flashlight and a broom and searches day and night until she finds the coin that was lost. Why does she do that? Only because of the high value she places on that coin. That coin means more to her than the time and effort expended to find it.
When a son goes lost his father makes time everyday walking down the road to the top of the rise to search the horizon for that missing boy. Why would he do that? Because that son is more valuable to him than anything else he could do during that time.
So, Jesus is making an important statement about God's value system and ours. He is clearly stating that God values lost people more than just about anything else. In fact, God values lost people more than He valued His own Son. How do I know that? Because God gave His Son to atone for the sins of lost people.
Words are important. Words have meaning. But, actions speak louder than words. God expressed His love through the writings of the Torah and especially through the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. But that wasn't sufficient. He wanted to show His love and prove it by his actions.
So, what we do ultimately determines what we value, and vice versa. Conversely, we get insight into what we don't value by virtue of what we fail to do.
Jesus told three stories to make it clear that God values lost people. He expects us to value lost people as well. And He expects us to prove our love for lost people by seeking them, searching for them until they are found and brought to the Father.
Heaven values lost people because God values lost people. Heaven proves its love for lost people by celebrating whenever one is found.
Do you share God's value system? Don't tell Him. Show Him. Your action will speak more than your words. So will your inaction.