Lost, Found, and Celebrated
It was a gift book, presented to me by the pastors that I had been teaching in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. “100 Reasons to Love the Cardinals” was a book about my favorite baseball team, the St Louis Cardinals. I read it on the flight back home. When we landed, I put the book in my overhead luggage, but when I arrived home, the book was missing. I looked everywhere. I knew I had placed the book in my luggage, but it was not in there. Lost! Maybe I just thought I put it in my luggage. A week went by as I grieved over the missing book. Then, one evening, my wife walked into the den carrying a book and asked, “Is this your book?” It was. My lost book had been found. Apparently, it fell out of my luggage as I was unpacking and landed under the bed. My wife saw the edge of it from the hallway and found it. It reminded me of a favorite chapter in the Bible – often called the “Lost and Found Chapter.” In Luke 15, Jesus shares three parables: (1) The lost sheep – a man owned 100 sheep, one wooly little critter wandered. The Shepherd went looking and found it, then called the others and celebrated; (2) The lost coin – a widow lost one of ten coins. She turned the house upside down until the coin was found, at which time she called friends and celebrated; (3) The lost son – a man had two sons (could have been daughters just as well). One wandered; one stayed home. The story ends with a celebration. I had always read (and preached on) these parables with emphasis on lostness, but when my lost book was found, I celebrated. My sermon just got longer . . . and better.