Read Luke 15:1-32
It is a longer story that these few lines allow…but let’s just summarize by saying that several years ago our family unintentionally threw away $500 of our own money. It’s true. A bank envelope containing cash made its way into a trash bag…and the trash bag to the curb…and from the curb to the garbage truck…and from the truck to the “transfer station” where garbage from all of the trucks was initially deposited. We discovered our mistake after the truck had completed its entire route and was on its way to the transfer station. As we called, an employee assured us that the entire route contents of that truck would be dumped separately. And, if we chose to, we could come the following morning to search for the money.
Guess what?! After nearly 2 hours of searching through garbage bags, the bank envelope was found with the money still inside! Let me ask you…was $500 worth the search? It certainly was to us! Getting a bit dirty and smelly far outweighed the value of that money. And, trust me, we expressed some “happy hallelujahs” after finding it!
That personal experience has given me a new appreciation for the parables of Luke 15. Whether it was a sheep, a coin, or a person, it should have been a given that a wide search would be made. And upon finding any one of those, it was a no brainer that a people would celebrate.
But words like “given” and “no brainer” are overstated. You see, the Pharisees and scribes did not understand the value of the search or the need to celebrate when it came to Jesus spending time with people of reputation. Like the older son in the parable of the prodigal, they were grumbling, wondering why Jesus would spend time with and even eat with people known to be tax collectors and sinners. So, Jesus taught these lessons on the importance of the search and the greatness of the celebration.
Is the search important enough for you to get your hands dirty? Is it of high enough value that you are intentionally seeking time with others in order to share the gospel of Christ with them? And when someone turns to Christ are you among those celebrating? The answers to these questions should be “no brainers.”