Jesus said, “Or what woman, if she owns ten silver coins and loses one of them, won’t light a lamp and sweep the house, searching her home carefully until she finds it? When she finds it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Celebrate with me because I’ve found my lost coin.’ In the same way, I tell you, joy breaks out in the presence of God’s angels over one sinner who changes both heart and life.” -Luke 15:8-10
I was walking to the church one Thursday morning. I often walk; it gives my brain and body a chance to reset. Usually I look around– at Christmas lights, new plants growing, animals scurrying, or leaves turning. On that Thursday morning, however, as I walked along, I glanced straight down in front of me. There, on the sidewalk, was an earring. In fact, it was my earring! It had fallen out of my ear some weeks earlier. I had looked in my car, in my office, on my scarf, but after a few fruitless searches, I gave it up as lost forever. There’s a lot of places for a little earring to go missing, after all.
In front of me, though, was the earring. I had given it up. It turned up.
At that moment, I thought of this story Jesus tells about the woman and her coins. When she loses a coin, she stops everything to carefully and deliberately search until she finds what has been lost. When I lost an earring, well, it stayed pretty much lost as far as my effort went.
God isn’t like me. (What a relief!) God doesn’t just give up after a quick effort to find the lost. God doesn’t decide there are enough other earrings in the jewelry box and move on. God doesn’t take the easy way out and just buy a replacement.
Nope, God is like the woman who will not rest until the lost coin is found. She searches diligently for her treasure, and, when it is found, she celebrates! Invite the neighbors, tell the friends: what was lost is found!
I am glad that God, like the woman, persists. God persists in looking for anyone who is lost, whether they took a wrong turn on the right route or they were headed the wrong way altogether. God keeps searching for even the most lost of us, for those who are angry at God, who hurt other people, or who flat-out reject the hope of Christ.
You can never be too lost for God to find you. I know pastors with criminal records, whose lives got so turned around by the love of Jesus that they went from serving time to serving God’s people. Nothing you have ever done or ever will do can keep God from coming after you to find you and bring you back to where you belong. It’s what God does.
You are the treasure that God is searching for. And your screw-up cousin is the treasure God is searching for. And the homeless guy asking for money by the interstate is the treasure God is searching for. And the millionaire who thinks he doesn’t have to care about other people so long as his salary keeps him happy is the treasure God is searching for. And the woman who has sold her dignity along with her body in order to pay rent is the treasure God is searching for. And the woman who seems to have it all together in a way you can’t quite understand is the treasure God is searching for.
And, in case you forgot, you are the treasure God is searching for. Over and over, diligently, persistently, obsessively, as long and as often as it takes, until you are found. Thank God.