Heaven celebrates each time a child comes home!
Jesus’ parables are lessons in masterful simplicity. By taking profound concepts from the natural order and communicating them through simple words and everyday images, Jesus has kept the attention of his followers and others for more than twenty centuries.
His parables of things lost (Luke 15) catches the attention of any child who hears these stories. Yet, later in life, adults still read these same words and find layers of meaning, treasures of truth and depths of revelation – all in the same simple words that haven’t changed for two thousand years.
In this chapter, Jesus tells of a shepherd who lost a sheep, a woman who lost a coin and a father who ‘lost’ his sons. Each tells the greater story of God’s passion for lost relationships. God is simultaneously the shepherd, the woman and the father who waits at the gate. He searches in places high and low and sweeps through the dust, all the while waiting, knowing that ‘home’ is like true north calling to the compass set in a young man’s heart.
He sees value in one among one hundred, one coin among ten and both sons, whether near or far away.
He celebrates, spending with extravagance and generosity far more than the worth of what was found. The father’s extravagance is far greater in celebration than the son’s in ‘wasteful living’. Clearly, heaven’s scales of value are calibrated differently from the ones we use.
What do leaders learn from Jesus? That there is power and longevity in simple language; that the simple can be a vehicle for the profound; that stories have great power to draw an audience and hold it through life; that stories of ‘lostness’ echo the experience of many who hear; that the shepherd who searches, the ‘woman’ who sweeps and the father who waits at the gate are God Himself who orchestrates a great celebration each time the lost is found. This is the Father’s business – the business of the church.
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