The Value of the Lost

Jon Opgenorth

Read: Luke 15:1-10

I have found my sheep that was lost. (v. 6)

Once as a child I hid inside the clothing racks of a department store. With three other children in tow, my mom rushed off down the mall to another store. I was left behind! I was having a blast until I realized Mom was gone. All I saw was “stranger danger” in the people around me. It was less than five minutes before Mom returned, but it was an eternity to a six-year-old. Mom, too, was anxious and afraid. Upon finding me, tears of joy filled her eyes.

In Luke 15, the religious leaders grumble about who Jesus welcomes: the moral and social outcasts of society. To them, such “sinners” are worthy of exclusion. To Jesus, they are “far off” and worthy of dropping all to search for and find. Graciously, Jesus tells the grumbling legalists stories about finding something that is lost. In the first story, a shepherd finds a lost sheep, and in the second a woman finds a lost coin. The sheep and coin are worth searching for, so the shepherd and woman do whatever it takes to find them.

Let that sink in. Are you far off, lost, sinful, and worthy of exclusion? God finds you worth sacrificing all he has to bring you home. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). You are so loved by God! —Jon Opgenorth

As you pray, thank God for his great love for you.