Day 22

Lost and Found

from the Luke reading plan

Luke 15:1-32, Ezekiel 34:11–12, Romans 3:10-20

BY Guest Writer

If you’re fortunate, it’s been long enough since you’ve experienced being lost, that you’ve forgotten the sheer terror of it. Dig into your memories and find yourself there again, tucked into a clothing rack at a department store, searching for signs of your mama, or wandering through an unfamiliar city without your GPS, and allow yourself to feel it anew. The sweaty palms, the dry mouth, the disorientation that comes from not knowing which direction to go, the desperation to find yourself safely tucked back into the arms of the familiar.

We can’t fault the Pharisees and scribes, not really. They saw Jesus breaking bread with the “lost,” and they forgot, bless them, how remarkable it is to be found. “And the Pharisees and scribes were complaining, ‘This man welcomes sinners and eats with them’” (Luke 15:2). And so Jesus lays out a series of lessons.

He starts with sheep, a relatively disposable commodity. As a sheep farmer myself, I can say with certainty that the flock matters, as do the individual hooves and horns that make it up, but a lost sheep or two is relatively minor. That is, unless you’re the Good Shepherd… or that one sheep who’s wandered off.

As the religious leaders listened to Jesus, perhaps they counted themselves among the ninety-nine, safe in the pen of rules and right thinking. And yet, whether in the pen or gone astray, the Good Shepherd deeply loves His sheep, all of them. Pay attention to the numbers in this first scene. The ratio of lost to found is one to ninety-nine, but Jesus is about to raise the stakes.

Consider a woman with ten silver coins. One slips through her fingers. It’s lost but not forgotten. She searches earnestly until the coin is in her hands. In Jesus’s second story, the ratio of lost to found is one to nine. Perhaps the Pharisees were still stifling a yawn at this point. Who cares about a single straggling sheep or even a single roll-away coin? When it comes to livestock and treasure, value is all relative.

But what about a son? Would we disregard a lost son carelessly? A loving parent would exhaust every resource to bring their lost boy home. The ratio here is intimate. One boy at home and one gone astray, one obedient and one in rebellion. Each time the Lord teaches the principle, the margins narrow. Heaven can never become so full of the saved that the Lord will cease to care about the lost.

Those who bear His image are not cattle to Him. He doesn’t think of us like pennies, barely worth being picked up off the sidewalk. We are His beloved children, the apple of His eye (Psalm 17:8). At the cross, He proved He would pay any ransom for us, even if we were the only one lost in the darkness of sin. What the Pharisees didn’t see was that Jesus wasn’t just eating a meal with the lost. He was searching for lost sheep, seeking missing treasure, and running to meet His beloved sons and daughters.

Erin Davis is an author, blogger, and speaker who loves to see women of all ages run to the deep well of God’s Word. When she’s not writing, you can find Erin chasing chickens and children on her small farm in the Midwest.

Post Comments (72)

72 thoughts on "Lost and Found"

  1. Shelby says:

    My husband and I recently began fostering two children and I find myself taking on the self righteous attitude of the obedient son when it comes to dealing with their biological parents.

    It seems that reunification is in the near future for our two children with their biological mother. She has done well with her case plan and has even become open to hearing about Christ, redemption and the power of prayer. I am genuinely happy for her and the progress she has made. Instead of rejoicing with her however, I let myself get consumed with how upset I will be when they leave our home.

    Bio mom had a rough past and could be compared to the prodigal son in the case of her “ruining” her first chance at loving and providing a safe home for her children. But now she has turned her life around and truly loves her two kids. I tend to have a self righteous (obedient son) attitude towards the situation and find myself thinking “Why does she get another chance with them when she messed up so bad the first time?”. As reunification is getting closer I pray that I can rejoice with her and support her despite the deep ache in my heart when I think of them leaving our home.

    Thank you Jesus for continuing to pursue and search for me despite my sinful heart and self righteous attitude. I pray I can see my own sins and need for you instead of focusing on others’ shortcomings.

  2. Jill Ravensborg says:

    I grew up in a home in which rules were held up as more godly than humbly admitting our sins and asking for forgiveness. I used to think if I could only have all of the rules given to me then I’d be able to track that I followed them- be able to pass the test. In more recent years, thankfully, I’ve been a part of a church that preaches grace, love, and the Word. I understand there is no person who can possibly keep the rules and no matter how hard we try we will never be able to and it leads us to thinking the more we keep, especially the “big” ones, the better of a person we are. It’s so far from the Truth. We need forgiveness, we need His Spirit working in us to help us see how we are in need of a Saviour. Daily we will struggle with various sins and, daily, we need His mercies.

  3. Jennifer McElhannon says:

    The parables that Jesus touched on in this devotional really hit me hard. I really feel like I was lost in a way before I met my husband and God had rescued me from a life of turmoil I was living in my parents home. He gave me a man of God and who only puts Him above me. And that’s exactly how it should be.

    Reading this though, I think sometimes my husband can act a little like a Pharisee. He’s truly lived a Christian lifestyle that many people don’t. He is a rule follower and adheres to what it says in the Bible. That is how a Christian should be, I’m not saying that’s bad. Yet sometimes, because of some of the mistakes I have made in the past where I messed up, my husband can make me feel like the lost sheep. I was astray about 8 months before I met him and after having a mental breakdown and a visit to the psych ward, I came out realizing I needed to change the life I was living. I still messed up along the way, but after meeting my husband and us marrying last year, I feel like I have grown more as a Christian in the last nine months than I have with my entire walk with Christ. Every day I strive to be better than I was the day before. Sometimes I fall short. But I know through Christ, He can always restore me when I do make a mistake. I am making a concerted effort to follow the Word as strictly as possible. Sin is NOT welcomed here!

    Jesus didn’t die in vain. He died for all of our sins, no matter how great or small. He knows our hearts and if we have truly asked for redemption and repentance, He grants it to us. It is only through God that we have eternal life via the Son. And each day when I do my morning readings of the Bible with my husband, a personal journal devotional, the She Reads Truth devotional (that I’m behind on because of some stressors in my life), and come nighttime a couple’s devotional with my husband, I feel the Holy Spirit within me, guiding me to the truth and to answers to so many questions I have.

    We are all sheep though. We all will fall away at some point to where God has to leave all of those who are in their pin (the ones following devoutly) to go rescue the one who needs Him in their life either for the first time or the fiftieth time. He is the Good Shepherd. Always watching over his flock and protecting us.

  4. Liv Hebblewhite says:

    Such truth and wisdom in this passage thankyou Lord Jesus for finding us when we are lost and loving us so deeply

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