Luke 15: 8-9 “Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? 9 And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbours together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ 10 In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
In 2006 the church where I served held a building fund offering day. On the given Sunday morning, just over £35,500 was given, a remarkable offering that was the largest in its history. As I closed the morning service and inviting people to come to the evening service I told them to go looking for coins down the sides of their chairs, under the bed, in their clothes, all the hidden places in their houses. In effect sweep the house clean for the coins! That evening we saw the offering rise to £36,000!
Lost coins are all around us, we just don’t go looking for them.
Remember, Jesus is telling this story because the religious were murmuring at him welcoming sinners.
Jesus reveals just what ‘welcoming’ sinners really means to him. He doesn’t just welcome them, he goes looking for them. He turns on the light, cleans the house thoroughly and searches carefully. He is meticulous in his search. Joy waits until the search is over and the sheep and the coin are found. For now it is the emotion of desire. This is emergency love. This is industrial grace. The coin must not stay lost. Whether or not this was part of the woman’s jewellery (they would often have coins on a necklace around their head indicating they were married) what is clear is that this woman cares. Her life is agitated not by the 9 coins that she still has but the 1 coin that is lost. She is not comforted by the 9 that are left. The 9 only remind her that the 1 is lost. But when she finds it then the party begins. How can she party with the 9 when 1 is lost?
May our churches rejoice again! Not because of the great music and the powerful words we sing. But because of the lost people that have been found that week.