Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. “Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” – Luke 15:3-10
Ever bought anything on eBay? It’s become a very popular Internet destination for people looking for bargains or for people looking to make money by selling their treasures. While some may dismiss the site as little more than an electronic garage sale, it does provide many people an effective marketplace to buy and sell their wares. For me, it provides an effective tool for teaching a simple economic and spiritual fact.
In an economic sense, eBay teaches us about the values of objects. I have a modest baseball card collection with several cards listed at values of several hundred dollars. This is great news in terms of conversation, but just because a baseball card collector’s guide gives the card a $200 value doesn’t mean that’s what it’s worth. Now if I put it on eBay and let the world bid on it for a week, the highest bidder will determine the actual value of it. So the economic truth we learn is this: an item is only worth what someone else is willing to pay for it.
In a spiritual sense, this gives us a clear understanding of the love God has for us. Think about it: what price did God pay to buy you back from sin? Could a greater price have been paid than the death of His own dear Son? We must live everyday in the certain knowledge of our true value as it was established by God Himself. We are a precious commodity that God desired above anything else in all creation.
This tells us two things that should affect our daily lives. First: because we were bought at such a great price, we must live our lives caring for ourselves in a way that maintains our value. Secondly: God models for us the way we ought to respond to those things in our life which we value. God’s love for us and His desire to reclaim us led him to actively pursue us until we were His. The parables show us how to pursue a coin or a sheep. But think about the things in your life that you have lost, those people and things that you worry about – how far would you go to reclaim…
- The love of your life?
- A lost child?
- A dream you’ve longed to pursue?
- The peace you’ve lost due to financial struggles?
- The assurance that your loved ones have a faith relationship with Christ?
If we truly value these things, we will take them to God in prayer, asking Him to act upon it as well as giving us the strength and wisdom to restore what has been lost.
Is it worth it?