How valuable are you anyway? Are you worth your weight in diamonds or rubies? Or even rice or potatoes? Scores of people today feel that their worth is not even that of straw. They struggle with feelings of worthlessness and inadequacies, completely overwhelmed by their feelings of inferiority, and the more they think about it, the worse the situation becomes.
Much of what Jesus said when He taught the multitudes, ran contrary to popular wisdom. Nowhere is this more evident than when He talked about how valuable individuals are, including those considered to be pretty worthless in the eyes of society. On one occasion Jesus illustrated this truth by telling three stories. Luke, the Greek physician from Syria, records them for us, and he gives these three stories prominence in his Gospel. Each one of these stories talks about something which was lost, and then recovered–a sheep, a coin, and a son. You can read the entire story in Luke 15 from your New Testament.
There were 100 sheep; one was lost. There were 10 coins; one was lost. There were two sons; one was lost. Even the elements which Jesus used in this story varied in value. A sheep is of little value compared to a silver coin, and a silver coin is of little value compared to the life of a son. Yet in each case there was rejoicing when that which was lost was found. There is also another important fact: Each was valuable enough for everything to come to a stop until the lost was found. The shepherd rejected the temptation to say, “Well, look at the 99 which we’ve got in the fold. You can’t win `em all so let’s be thankful for what we have.” No, he left his flock of 99 and went seeking the one animal which had strayed. He was satisfied with nothing less than finding the one lost sheep.
The woman with the ten coins could have reasons, “Everybody has losses in life. We live in a broken world. It could have been worse.” Not so! She swept and searched until the one coin was found. “Rejoice with me,” she told her friends and neighbors, “I have found my lost coin” (Luke 15:9).
The father of the lost son, often called the prodigal, could have said, “I did my best raising the lad. I’m sorry, but he had a will of his own, and I couldn’t make his decisions for him.” Instead the father cried, “…`this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate” (Luke 15:24).
The person who struggles with feelings of inadequacy, feeling he is never good enough to warrant and receive God’s love, is pictured in these three stories. Yet what he or she doesn’t understand is that God is far more interested in his coming to the Father than he is in finding the Father. That’s what the Gospel is all about. When we were lost, without hope, and without direction, the Great Shepherd of the flock, Jesus Christ, came seeking and searching. Long ago Isaiah wrote, “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way” (Isaiah 53:6). But Jesus said, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost” (Luke 19:10). As John Newton wrote, “I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see.”
There is help for your failure and hope for your despair. May I suggest that you take time to read these three accounts found in Luke 15, and see yourself in that which was lost. Your life can forever be different. Believe it.
Resource Reading: Luke 15
Text: For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost. Luke 19:10
GUIDELINES with Harold Sala – October 19, 2017