I have no sense of direction whatsoever. If we are ever on a road trip together and I feel like we are supposed to go right, you should almost certainly go left. If I could ask anything of the Lord, anything at all….it probably would not be for a sense of direction, but it might make the top ten. Just in case my maps app quits working.
In Luke 15:1-10, Jesus tells the story of two lost things: a sheep and a coin. The progression is the same for both the shepherd and the owner of the coin. An important item is lost. The owner searches diligently for the item in apparent disregard for the remaining sheep and coins. Upon finding what has been lost the owners not only rejoice, but also invite their friends and neighbors to join in their rejoicing.
Confession: as a teenager first engaging Scripture for myself, I didn’t much like this text. Because I was one of the 99 who stayed in the pen. I was the coin obediently remaining in the change purse, not rolling under the couch and inciting panic. While I would not have admitted this, like the Pharisees and teachers of the law, I was bothered that Jesus would spend his time with those who couldn’t their act together instead of congratulating me in never leaving the pen or the purse.
My problem was, and often still is, two-fold. 1) I fail to recognize my self-righteousness as sinful as the shenanigans of a wandering sheep. I am just as much in need of being found. 2) In my preoccupation with self, I lose the ability to rejoice in the Good News at work around me because, who is keeping score around here?
May the Spirit work in our hearts to deliver us from the notion that we are in any less need of grace then the next person, and empower us to pry our eyes off ourselves so we might rejoice in the transformative work of God around us.
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Grace and Peace.