Saturday, September 10, 2016
One thing always bugs me… OK… a lot of things bug me about these readings – but the one I want to point out is the woman who lost the coin. When she found the coin she threw a party!!! Don’t you think she spent more on the party than the coin was worth?? Seriously – it would be like – if I had 10 dollars to pay for my meals one day – and I lost one of the dollars. First of all – is a dollar really all that worth getting excited about? C’mon, I’m not gonna tear the house about and actually CLEAN the house just trying to find that one dollar. Secondly – if I found it, I’m sure not gonna jump up and down and buy everybody in the restaurant lunch… that would cost a lot more than the dollar I found. Instead – I’d just buy myself some ice cream with the extra dollar.
Oh – and then – what shepherd in his right mind would leave 99 perfectly good sheep in the wilderness where wolves could attack them to go look for one stupid lost sheep! NONE…
As with every other case, if something in the Bible doesn’t make sense or SEEMS like a contradiction, then we either don’t understand.. or…the lesson being taught is hidden in the senselessness.
Jerry had a 1965 Ford Mustang he had picked up for next to nothing as a teen-ager. Next to nothing, because it was basically a junker. It had been wrecked. The engine didn’t run. It was rusty. Anybody in their right mind would have turned away from this heap of rusty metal… but not Jerry. He saw past the rust to the possibilities. He envisioned spending hours in the garage with his Dad rebuilding this car from the ground up. He envisioned driving it to school and all the girls’ eyes lighting up at his bright red Mustang as he pulled into the high school parking lot and revved the engine. He would dream of that day… he could SEE it… but nobody else could. It was junk.
He and his Dad tore into it – filling the garage with pieces and parts. Seemed like every evening and every weekend, they’d spend hours working on it – paying close attention to every detail – cause like his dad always said, “any job worth doing is worth doing right”. Progress was slow – and Jerry reached that age where it wasn’t a priority anymore. He had to get a job to pay for all the parts he was having shipped in. Girls entered the picture. School work and sports took priority… Dad kept trying to schedule some time to spend with him in the garage, but Jerry was “busy”. Before he knew it, MONTHS had gone by and he hadn’t touch a wrench. Then his Dad got really sick… it was stage 4 before they caught the cancer– and within a month, Jerry was burying Dad.
After that, Jerry couldn’t even go into the garage. It reminded him of all the time he’d spent with his Dad. The car sat in the garage – and Jerry collected up the pieces and parts and stacked them all in the seats of the car just in case SOME day he’d come back to it. But one thing led to another… jobs, girls, college, marriage, kids. Somewhere around the age of 42, living in a different house, Jerry went back to Mom’s house and into the garage and instead of seeing that car as something sad, he once again had the vision of working for hours on the car with his Dad. Suddenly, he wanted more than anything to finish that car – for Dad’s sake. Each hour he spent in the garage he would reminisce about those days with Dad... sometimes it brought tears to his eyes… but mainly it brought a smile. This car was his connection with his Dad. He spent his vacation that year and every other weekend in that garage. Finally the day came to start the engine, and it roared to life! After 30 years of being silent, this car was restored to its former glory. Jerry invited all his family and friends – including the ones from high school who had made fun of him for buying the pile of rusted metal. He threw a party with food, music, fireworks… but the highlight of the night was when Jerry opened the garage and drove the mustang into the yard.
A tear streamed down his cheek as he thought again of his Dad – and how he wished so much he was here to see this….THEIR completed project.
What’s my point? The value of the coin in that gospel story is not that important. What matters is the value it has to that woman. Perhaps it has sentimental value? Perhaps, as some scholars say, it is part of her dowry and she couldn’t get married until she found it. The point is – for HER, this coin is priceless… worth tearing the house apart… worth celebrating when she found it.
Likewise the Mustang was junk to anybody else, but to Jerry, it was the center of his life with his Dad and you couldn’t put a price tag on that car. It was worth any amount of time and trouble and expense to finish that car – because the value was… at least to Jerry – priceless.
To the rest of the world, you and I might look like junk. Why waste your time on some hillbilly from Dubois County? But our heavenly Father has dreamed about YOU since the world began… enjoying every moment of time he spent making you, forming you, teaching you through trials, lavishing you with gifts…. God is CRAZY about you. He would tear the house apart to find you. He would spend every moment of eternity looking for you and trying to get just another moment to spend with you. He will spare no trouble, spare no amount of time, spare no expense to win you back… NO AMOUNT OF MERCY… YOU ARE NOT JUNK. Like a lost cell phone that has all of your personal photos on it, God has put HIS image on YOU. You are irreplaceable.
God would even hang on a cross if that’s what it took to get you back. And when you do come back… “there will be more rejoicing in heaven…”