How many of you are notorious for losing things? My mom is notorious for losing her purse. All. The. Time. She constantly loses it. This is nothing new for me. She’s been losing it for as long as I can remember. Whether she leaves it on the back seat of her chair at a restaurant, leaves it in the side door of the car when she comes into the house, or sets it down someplace in the house and she no longer remembers where it is.
She just flat out loses her purse all the time. My best friend growing up, Caitlin, and I have created a system for finding her lost purse. Caitlin lived with us for a time after we graduated, and we got very good at finding the misplaced item. And even almost ten years later when Nathan and I were getting married and my mom lost her purse the day before the wedding, we still managed to get our system into place and find her purse.
It was at Bed, Bath, and Beyond by the way.
When we lose something, we rejoice when we find it. My mom cried that day. In the middle of Bed, Bath, and Beyond, with me and her daughter-in-love standing right next to her and the poor cashier who had handed it back. My mom cried. She rejoiced, she smiled, she grinned, she whooped as soon as we got outside and she we beyond happy to have found what she was looking for. She said, “Thank God!” and she meant it.
Very often we lose something. We spend sometimes minutes, sometimes hours, sometimes days or months looking for whatever it is. Sometimes we never find it, but most of the time it does turn up, eventually. But do we rejoice and thank our Creator for finding this lost and precious item? Do we share our joy in our discovery with all those around us?
I mean, my mom didn’t invite all her friends and family over to throw a party to rejoice in finding her purse. Most people would think that was a bit excessive. And with how many things my toddler finds on the floor, if I threw a party for each one it would be excessive. But that doesn’t negate the question. Do we thank our Creator for what we’ve found?
To we rejoice and worship God in heaven for giving us this gift in the first place? For the joy and beauty that we have in this world? More often than not, the answer is going to be no. We don’t thank God, we don’t worship and praise the name of the Creator every time we find something that has been lost.
But Jesus isn’t just talking about a lost sheep or a lost coin here. He’s talking about lost lives. Lives that can and still need to be transformed by our Creator, transformed by the love that only God has for us.
As Christians we are called to find people, to go in search of what is lost. We are commanded by our Savoir to go out, to baptize, to teach all that Jesus has taught us. We’re a found people. Jesus has already spent the time looking for us. He searched and searched, and he found us, and he rejoiced when we committed ourselves to him and to leading a life with him at the center.
Now we’re his hands and his feet. Now we’re the ones who are to be searching and looking for those who are still lost. The story doesn’t end as soon as we make a commitment to our faith. The searching doesn’t stop. We are to constantly be looking for what is lost.
And I know you see what is lost. I know you see those people who need to know the love of Christ, who need to experience what God has to offer them. You tell me about these people, you worry about them, you pray about them, but do you go find them? Are you taking the steps, physically, to find them and uncover the dust that has settled over them? Or are you waiting for Jesus to do it himself? Are you waiting for someone else to pull out the broom and the dustpan or to grab the light to guide your feet in the dark?
Found people find people. That means we need to get down and dirty. Archaeologists don’t find dinosaur bones by standing at the top of a dig and ordering people around and what to do. They’re in the dirt, they’re carefully sweeping away layer after layer of dirt and sifting through it to find even a small glimpse of what lies underneath.
They’re taking the time to carefully peel back the layers to find something, anything. That’s our calling too. To peel back the layers of those who don’t believe, to find their center and what they’re needing, to allow them to be vulnerable with us so they too can come to belief and faith in our creator.
Each person is a beautiful and wonderful creation of God, no matter what. Some of us have been found already and now we need to do the finding. Each person out there who doesn’t believe is a lost treasure. They’re your favorite sheep, a coin, a purse, they’re the one who will come into this family to make us complete and whole. They’re a lamb of God just like we are.
Lost treasures. We need to rejoice when we find them. When we bring them into the life God has created for them, when they come to faith, when they are found. Shout for joy, sing a new song, rejoice. Each person in these parables gathered family and friends and rejoiced together. This isn’t something we do separately or individually. This is something we do as a family of God. This is something we uplift to our entire community.
Rejoice! For someone has been found. For their soul and their heart is now alive in Christ. For this lost treasure has been discovered. It’s been brought into the light, it’s been uncovered and discovered and dusted off. This lost treasure reflects the beauty of Christ in our lives. Rejoice.