2002-04-10 - Lost and Found
Luke 15:4,5 What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.
It's bad enough when you lose the keys to your house or car. A little embarrassment and inconvenience, some new keys are made and things are back to normal. Don't try telling that to warden James Smith of the Indiana Department of Corrections. Smith recently, according to the Merrillville (Ind.) Post-Tribune, somehow misplaced all the master keys for his facility, a lot of keys. After an exhaustive search, it was decided that the only safe thing to do was to replace the major locks and make new sets. It took days and $53,000 to correct the situation. During the time the locks were being changed, all 2,559 inmates were put under lockdown. The process took more than a week. The warden's wife just found the old set.
Being lost is not much fun. There are times when I prove myself to be a guy and fail to stop and ask for directions or look at a map. I know what will happen every time. I will end up miles from where I want to be before I break down and do what I should have done 30 minutes before. The parable of the lost sheep gives us a picture of a stupid, ignorant animal wandering around and not knowing where he is going. In this parable, we are represented by the sheep. The shepherd represents Christ, and the direct implication is that it is Christ who comes and seeks, finds and saves us.
There is a similar representation in the next parable in this passage. It is the parable of the lost coin. "Or what woman, if she has ten silver coins and loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it?" Luke 15:8. Again, in this parable, we are the lost coin, and Christ is the one doing the searching. This parable helps to show how precious we are in God's eyes. It also shows how incapable we are to do anything to help ourselves. The sheep at least could have cried out signaling it was lost, but the coin can do nothing. It is helpless. In fact, it is no different from the keys of the warden. The keys were lost and they could offer no help that would aid them in being found. This parable of the lost coin again speaks of us and of the mercy and grace of Christ in seeking, finding us and then rejoicing when we are found.
Salvation is simple in many respects. Christ has done the work. Christ does the seeking. Christ does the saving. We respond in faith. Salvation is complicated, in that it is hard to believe that it could be that simple. We are prone to say, "What can I do to help out?" The answer is that we can do nothing. We can add nothing to the work of Christ in salvation. It is natural to want to try. However, our calling is not to add to the work of Christ, but rather to respond in faith and serve Him faithfully with our lives.
And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under Heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved Acts 4:12.
"We are not saved for believing but by believing." Thomas Taylor
"If salvation could be attained only by working hard, then surely horses and donkeys would be in Heaven." Martin Luther
Soli Deo Gloria,