Luke 15:8-9 New International Version (NIV)
8 “Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins[a] 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 neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’
Chapter 15 of Luke starts with the Pharisees and Sribes bickering about how Jesus was spending His day teaching tax collectors and “sinners.” They can’t believe that He is wasting his time with these people, who apparently are outside the acceptance of God’s glory because of their lifestyle. I mean, come on, the tax collectors who cheat the people out on a regular basis? What are you doing with them? The sinners? We don’t know exactly what their crimes against God were, but let’s assume that they were adulterers, murderers, and other social outcasts. In my research, what I found is that we never find out who exactly they are, but that they were always set opposite of the righteous. And since the Pharisees set a high precedent of how Jewish people followed The Law, anyone who lived outside of The Law would probably have been sinners.
So Jesus responds to the grumbling and complaining of the Pharisees and Scribes by telling some parables. One is the lost sheep, which someone else will write about. Another is the lost coin. Let’s look at that one more.
The woman loses 1 of her 10 coins and rather than just forgetting about it, searches frantically for it, and when she finds it, sends text messages to all of her friends and posts it to social media to celebrate that she has found what she had once lost. So, first, let’s look at why one coin would be such a big deal. I mean, do any of you get frantic when you lose a quarter? I’m guessing a quick search to see if you can find it, and then just an “oh well” for most of you (and me). But she lost 1 of 10 coins, or 10% of all that she owned. Now that is more significant. Also, as I looked more into this, it is likely that the coin was part of her dowry. A dowry is the gift that a woman brought to her husband as a gift on the day of their marriage. And she probably wore the coins on a necklace. To lose one would be like losing one of your most prized wedding gifts, maybe like losing your wedding or engagement ring. Tell me you wouldn’t search frantically for that and rejoice when you found it!
So what Jesus is saying is that, like any of us who would rejoice when we find a lost or misplaced prized possession, God rejoices when even just one person repents and comes back to Him. A huge party is held in His kingdom every time someone comes back to Him.
This is why we, as Christians, in my humble opinion, need to spend more time just being kind to people. As I have been in many discussions on social media lately about different social and political topics, I keep saying about how I typically try to adhere to three things in my life. The first two come from Matthew 22:36-40 and the other is from Matthew 7:12. I’m not always perfect on either of these, but I try every day. And I think that when we start going into judgment mode and pointing out the flaws in others, we become a little too much like the Pharisees. It’s not up to me to decide anything about the sins of the people I meet or read about. It IS up to me to treat them the way I would hope that they treat me in return. The saying I use in class whenever my students try to blame someone else with something, is whenever you point a finger at someone in blame, just realize that there are three pointing back at you.
Imagine a country or world where we just accepted people for who they are, and show them the love of God. Where we didn’t say things like “those liberals” or “those conservatives.” Where we didn’t judge people for stance on any of the current hot topics. All of that should be left for God to sort out. We as Christians have got to be better. It just might be that if we practiced acceptance more often, we might lead by example what it means to live in Christian love. And then, just maybe, more people would repent and turn to God. And there will be much rejoicing in heaven for each of those people who repent.