Text: Luke 15:1-10| Listen to Message
How’d You Get Lost?
Jesus’ stories about the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost (prodigal) son are some of his best-known parables – and for good reason: all three illustrate the Good News that God loves to pursue and find the lost. In fact, restoring the lost is something that makes God spontaneously and ridiculously happy!
But Jesus communicates this one big truth three different ways. And in this nuance, we discover something very important. Though we’re all equally lost apart from Christ, we tend to get lost in different ways.
Some get lost by wandering.
Picture the sheep following the shepherd to a hillside covered with lush, green grass. It puts its head down and begins eating. Devouring one clump of clover after another, it blissfully, inadvertently wanders off. Finally it lifts its head to discover that the flock and shepherd are long gone. It’s alone…and lost.
Isaiah 53:6 says, “All we like sheep have gone astray.” It’s so easy for us to fix our attention on one interesting thing after another – a task, a hobby, a relationship, an experience – and before we know it, we’ve carelessly wandered far from God. Whether we sense it or not, we’re in grave danger.
Some get lost by rebellion.
The prodigal son did not accidentally wander off. He scorned his father and deliberately rejected him. He rebelled against the rules and ran past the boundaries that once protected him, and he went and squandered his inheritance with reckless, immoral living. When he finally had an attack of sanity, he realized he was lost – and had no one to blame but himself.
Ever since the Garden of Eden, we’ve all been running from God by our deliberate acts of rebellion. God says, “Don’t do this,” but we do it anyway. We want what we want, when and how we want it, and God can shove it. Little by little, our lives grow darker as we run from the light. Eventually we’re completely lost in the pitch blackness of our sin.
Some get lost by others’ mistakes.
Finally consider this lost coin in the middle story Jesus tells. It didn’t wander off. It didn’t rebel. In fact, it didn’t do anything – after all, it’s an inanimate object! The coin was lost not by what it did, but by what was done to it.
Many people can probably identify with this lost coin. Oh, you weren’t perfect; but you were trying to live the Christian life, trying to obey God. And then it happened: someone hurt you deeply. Maybe it was even your pastor or another spiritual leader or family member. They pushed you away from God. And you got confused. You got frustrated. You pulled away. And before you knew it, you felt lost.
For most of us, the reality is that we’re a combination of these three things: we’ve intentionally disobeyed God, we’ve inadvertently wandered off, and we’ve been hurt by others. You may identify with one of these stories more than the others, but the bottom line is that we’re all lost without Christ.
So let’s come back to this: it doesn’t matter to Jesus how you got lost; he loves you anyway. If you’re reading this and you’re lost right now, know that he is relentlessly pursuing you with a love that never stops and never gives up. He will find you, whatever it takes, and he will restore your soul. He’s not waiting for you to repent so that he can love you; it is his love that will lead you to repentance!