Do you remember your first experience of being lost? I’m talking that first time you can remember either being left by a parent or having wandered off on your own until you don’t know where you are? The fear that grips you, the worry of your safety that concerns you. When I was a kid, my sister and I used to play hide-and-seek. I say used to because after the incident of the story I’m about to tell you, we were no longer allowed to play hide-and-seek anymore.
One time when we were playing hide-and-seek, my sister was counting, and I was hiding. I ran into our room and hid under our bed. I can still remember hearing my sister come into the room and looking around in our closet, behind our door, but not finding me under the bed. My sister left the room to keep looking for me, and soon I fell asleep in my spot. Sooner or later, my sister gave up trying to find me.
After a while, my mom asked my sister where I was, and she said she didn’t know and couldn’t find me. My mom began frantically searching the house and outside for me but didn’t see me anywhere. My dad got home and joined the search, but still no luck. My parents began to get nervous that I had either ran off and gotten lost in the corn fields around our house or had been taken. They called the police and a sheriff had quickly come out to the house to hear the story and help.
In the meantime, I unknowingly woke up from my nap under the bed and crawled out to tell my sister that I had won hide-and-seek when I realized that there was nobody in the house. I went outside to find my family, saw the commotion, and thought something was wrong. You won’t believe the relief my mom experienced to find I had only hidden under our bed and won hide-and-seek. We still haven’t been allowed to play it again since.
As we look at Luke 15, also known as the “Lost Chapter”, we find three parables where Jesus teaches the value of the lost. Throughout this chapter, we see three different types of “lostness” illustrated by each of the three parables.
The first type of lostness is found in the Parable of the Lost Sheep. Luke 15:1-7 tells us that tax collectors and sinners had drawn near to Jesus. This upset the Pharisees, so they began to grumble saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” Jesus responds by telling them the Parable of the Lost Sheep. Jesus asks them, “which of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it?” Jesus posed this question to the pharisees so they could see the value that God places on the lost.
If we’re not careful, we can become lost like the one sheep in this parable. Sheep get lost and stray away from the herd due to lack of awareness. As sheep eat, they move from one patch of grass to the next without looking up or around at their surroundings and can soon be separated from the herd completely without ever realizing it. They wander away bite by bite. As people, we have this same struggle. Some of us have found ourselves lost without realizing how we got there in the first place. Bite by bite, small compromise after another, we find ourselves separated from the herd.
The next type of lostness we see is found in the second parable, the Parable of the Lost Coin. In this parable, Jesus tells of a woman who lost one of her ten coins and searches until she has found it, and then celebrates with her neighbors over the finding of it. The type of lost we find here is not by lack of awareness, but by a lack of discipline. In that day, a woman would receive ten coins as a wedding gift, so the coin held not only a monetary value, but also a sentimental value. Realizing that she lost her precious coin, the woman lights a lamp and searches to find the lost coin. As people, we understand this type of lost all too well. We find ourselves lost due to our own lack of discipline. Maybe we choose to be in the wrong places, with the wrong people, and eventually make the wrong choices. We’ve all been there, right? Life gets busy, you no longer are spending time with God every day, and then before you realize it, you’ve lost that figurative coin. This state of being lost comes from our own decisions and lack of discipline.
Our last type of lostness today is found in the parable of the Prodigal Son. In Luke 15:11-32, Jesus tells this parable and illustrates lostness as a state of being. Most of us know the story – a son demands that his father give him his inheritance. In that time, it would mean that the son says his father is as good as dead to him. He doesn’t want him anymore. The father gives this son his inheritance and the young man goes and lives a lavish lifestyle spending all the money and finds himself lost. Scripture says that the young man longed to eat what the pigs he fed were eating. He decides to come back to his father and a celebration is held. Look at what verse 24 says, “For my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found”. What a powerful statement about this son.
Today, maybe you’ve found yourself lost in your faith. Whether by a lack of awareness, a lack of discipline, or even a state of being. I want to encourage you that in each of these stories that highlights a loss, we find a celebration over the found! You don’t have to stay lost. Your Heavenly Father sees you, loves you, and wants His best for you! Maybe that means today you need to be aware of the sins that you struggle with and run from that temptation. Maybe that means you prioritize your time with the Lord every day regardless of how busy life gets. Or maybe that means you need to recommit your life to God because you’re lost is a state of being. Today is your day is to no longer be defined by one of these types of lost, you can be found!