Lost & Found 1 — Lost, But Still His
Updated: May 24, 2020
Chan Gin Kai
Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” (Luke 15:1-2)
This is one of my favourite chapters in the Bible for it gives hope to the lost; it gives hope to me.
Lost. That’s what we were. That’s what we’ll still be if not for Jesus. We often forget where we came from, and how easily we can fall back into it if we’re not careful.
There’s a prideful tendency, after we’ve become Christians, to think of “the lost” as all those other non-believers who still live in sin. While that’s technically true to a certain extent, this us-versus-them mindset puts us in the same school as the Pharisees and teachers of the law. We pride ourselves as saved, and differentiate ourselves from the non-believers in a holier-than-thou way.
While we may not be as outwardly ostracising towards non-believers as the Pharisees were, we show our self-righteousness in many other ways. It’s in the little judgemental remarks we make about them and their lifestyles. It’s even in the way we sound when we warn our kids and our younger Christians about the non-believers.
Jesus preached hard against sins, yet the “tax collectors and sinners were all gathering” around him. He taught about righteousness, but it drew the unrighteous to him. Why were they drawn to Jesus but not the Pharisees?
Are non-believers drawn to us the same way they were drawn to Jesus?
Jesus then went on to tell three parables: The Lost Sheep, The Lost Coin and The Lost Son. Jesus’ focus in the parables was not on the ones who were lost, but on the ones who went looking for them. If not for how generic they sound, the parables could be more aptly named The Shepherd, The Woman, and The Father.
The parables describe God’s attitude towards those who are lost. His lesson was targeted at the Pharisees, but there’s much we can learn about God’s love for the lost ones.
Go read all three of them again for a little refresher, for they are such beautiful parables. And let’s explore some similar points between them.
Lost, But Still His
The shepherd may have lost a sheep, but the sheep remained his. The coin may not be in the woman’s possession, but it was still her property. The younger son may have rejected his father, but the father never rejected his son.
The sheep, the coin and the son may have been lost, but they still belonged to the shepherd, the woman and the father respectively. That never changed just because they were lost.
We are God's treasured possession. We always have, and always will belong to Him. Whether we accept or reject Him, whether we walk in righteousness or live in sin, the bond remains. We may be lost, but we are still His.
And God will keep searching and waiting for us till we’re back by His side. Let’s stay by His side, and let’s help those who are lost come back to Him too.
One Of Many, But Uniquely Precious
The shepherd had 99 other sheep, but he didn’t give up on the lost one even though he had many. The widow had nine other silver coins, but she swept her whole house until she found the lost one. The father had two sons, but he never stopped longing for his lost son’s return.
There are seven billion people in the world. Each of us are but one of countless faces in the world. We may want to think that we are special, or unique, or better than others, but we know that is not true. There are many who are smarter, better looking, more accomplished, and more qualified than we are.
We are special only to our family or our close circle of friends. Even if we are respected, admired or followed by a few thousand (or million) others on social media, we know it is a fickle crowd with little loyalty. Other than that, we’re another contact on an address book that perhaps gets a yearly birthday greeting. We’re another number on a database, a statistic on a chart.
But just because there are seven billion other people doesn’t mean we’re not each precious to God. Each one of us is unique and special in His eyes. He loves us and wants all of us to be saved.
This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. (1 Timothy 2:3-6)
Joy In Our Return
When the shepherd found his lost sheep, and the woman found her lost coin, they called their friends and neighbours and said, “Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep/coin” (1 Timothy 15:6,9). When the lost son returned to his father, the father called for a party.
There is much rejoicing when the lost is found again.
That’s how our Heavenly Father feels when each one of us returns to Him. I picture God calling for a celebration in heaven, with Jesus, the Spirit and the angels each time one of us emerges from the waters of baptism and become part of His Body. Now imagine how much rejoicing we will have when we’re all finally in heaven!
God loves us, and each one of us is special in His eyes. Even when we were lost, we were still His. He longs for all of our return.
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Chan Gin Kai
Gin Kai is a film producer who believes in the power of media to inspire positive changes. He has spearheaded disaster relief and capacity building projects in impoverished communities across Asia. He serves actively in the Central Christian Church and describes himself as “just a sinner who wants to get right with God”.