Daily Devotion - February 23, 2021 - Finding the Lost ... and Rejoicing

Connie Belmore

Daily Devotion – February 23, 2021
Reading:
Luke 15:1-10
Weekly Theme: Protected by God
Today: Finds the Lost…and Rejoices

When I was a young mother, my husband and I worked with the youth group at our church and went on a “mystery trip” with them to the New Jersey shore. Our two young children, who were six and three, went with us. We all stayed in an old convent one block from the beach. One day, we were all on the beach with everyone and my son and daughter were sitting with us. I turned my head for just a moment and when I looked back, my son was gone. I freaked out and began to run up and down the beach frantically calling his name. Pretty soon I was joined by all those close by as we all began to look for my son only to discover after what seemed like an eternity that he had walked back to the convent with another adult without telling us. I was obviously overwhelmed with joy to see him but once I hugged him, I quickly scolded him for wandering away and not letting us know.

Today’s passage opens with Jesus being criticized by the Pharisees for eating and hanging out with sinners. To explain his reasoning, he tells them one of his sheep parables about lost sheep and how the good shepherd will do anything to find one lost sheep. He will leave the other 99 in the fold to go find just one sheep who has wandered away and when he finds that sheep he invites others to join him as he rejoices. Instead of getting upset and scolding the sheep for running off or putting him in the “time out” pasture all by himself, he calls all the other sheep together to celebrate the return of this one sheep. Jesus reinforces his point with another story about a woman who has ten silver coins and loses one. She lights a lamp and sweeps the house carefully searching for the lost coin until she finds it. Then she calls others to rejoice with her because she has found that which was lost.

I was truly ecstatic when I found my son and so were all the others that were helping me look for him. We all rejoiced and praised God that we found him safe and sound. That said, I did scold him (after I hugged and kissed all over him), for not letting us know that he was going back to the house with another adult who assumed we knew. Contrast my reaction to the response of Jesus, the Shepherd, and the woman with the lost coin. They have nothing but joy when they find that which was lost.

Jesus is happy to receive back those who have lost their way. He will leave the 99, who are safe in the fold, and go look for that one sheep. When he finds the sheep, there is no mention of any scolding, reprimanding, or grudge-holding. With Jesus, there is only celebration that the one who was lost has now returned. Are we like Jesus? Do we welcome back those who have wandered away? Do we rejoice and celebrate their return? Or are we like Pharisees and lawmakes who say, “What are they doing here?” May the Holy Spirit inspire us to rejoice and welcome the lost like Jesus did.

God Almighty Lord Jesus Holy Spirit, thank you that when we lose our way, You seek us, find us and welcome us back and rejoice that we have been found. Help us to do the same for those who have wandered away. May we celebrate and welcome them back with joy and love. In Your name we pray. Amen.

 
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