Okay! I know what you’re thinking. But this post isn’t about Jesus’ parable found in Luke 15:8-10. That’s a really good story with an extremely powerful message. However, the Holy Spirit spoke to me yesterday and I would like, if you will permit me, to share my version of The Parable of the Lost Coin.
It all started for me a couple of weeks ago. I was out in the backyard having just let the dogs out to take care of their business and I was twirling my wedding ring around on my finger. I made a motion towards one of the dogs and the ring flew from my hand like a rocket from its launching pad.
I watched as it soared over the patio and landed in the midst of the backyard nestling deep into the lawn which desperately needed to be cut as Spring had definitely sprung here in Texas. I gasped. I had to get my ring!
Well, after 45 minutes of being on my hands and knees, patting down the grass trying to feel my ring, I grew desperate. There was NO way I was going to explain this to My Lovely. That is what I call the woman to whom I am married and who would not appreciate the loss of my wedding ring, regardless of whatever explanation I provided!
So, I did what any wise man who was in my predicament would do. I went and bought a metal detector! A short trip to Cabela’s Sporting Goods store and $163 later, it took me about 30 seconds to find my wedding ring and insure the perpetuation of marital bliss and tranquility. If you’ve been married for any amount of time, you know it was well worth the expense. (can I get an amen, my brothers?!?!?!?!)
As a result, I’m now the proud owner of a Bounty Hunter metal detector. It’s a low end detector; cheapest one they had in stock. I thought it dishonest to purchase it, use it and just take it back for a refund. Besides, the Bounty Hunter had saved me from the undesirable situation of explaining the loss of my wedding ring to my wife and I appreciated it!
By the way, that isn’t the parable. That’s just the backstory.
I searched the rest of my backyard that evening. I discovered that whoever built my house really liked Country Time Lemonade and evidently did not have any interest in using a trash bag. I found a couple of other pieces of metal refuse and one penny.
Well, I have a new hobby! I go for walks now in the parks around my house for prayer and exercise and I grab my Bounty Hunter. I can’t dig holes in public parks, so I usually find coins that are just below the surface or covered by debris.
Last evening, I uncovered the quarter pictured above. It is a 1988 quarter. In today’s economy, it really doesn’t hold much value. I couldn’t even use it in a coke machine because it is so dented and bent. The taint from being buried for so long makes it hard to see/read its markings. But, I have to tell you……..the thrill of finding it and redeeming it….it’s incredibly exhilarating!
As I uncovered the quarter, I began to wonder how in the world it got in that situation; buried underneath the earth, encapsulated in an environment that was accelerating its decay and robbing it of any value or usefulness. Had it simply slipped out of a child’s pocket while playing in the park years ago? Was someone aware of its displacement and searched for it for a time in an attempt to recover it but to no avail? How did it get there? What was its history? While provoking curiosity, the details of the coin’s demise are not that important. Because the truth of the matter is that though it was fashioned by a governmental authority out of precious metal and originally contained a value for the purpose of effective trade, all it was at the moment I recovered it was lost and forgotten!
Walking back from the park with the coin in my shirt pocket, I was intrigued to clean it up a bit and discover what I had truly found.
The coin’s use and value in the system it was originally created to function in is no longer valid. Being lost and buried has taken its toll on the coin but the system itself has also deteriorated due to inflation and debt. The coin, along with its value and purpose, was doomed to stay lost except for someone, such as myself, who had the proper equipment to detect it, was strategically positioned to do so and then had the willingness to spend the time and exert the energy to uncover it and redeem it.
The coin’s value is now inextricably linked to the merit that I place upon on it because I am the one that found it and redeemed it. Sure, I can’t spend it on anything and even if I could, what can you get for 25 cents these days? No, it’s value has undeniably changed. Now it holds memories for me. Perhaps I will frame it and display it. It would serve as a great conversation starter. Hmmmmm……it could even spurn an idea for a post on a blog that could encourage or inspire someone. That’s worth something, isn’t it?
The Holy Spirit ministered to me through the coin. The coin is ‘people’. Lost, hurting people. Atheist, pagan, heathen, religious, Christian. It doesn’t matter. People are buried in environments, paradigms and mentalities that accelerate their decay and cause their original value and purpose to be lost. And when you pile on all the commotion and brouhaha that we attach to REALLY KNOWING GOD, it seems people have a slim chance of being revealed and redeemed.
People are NOT their failures, their short comings or their sin. There is ONE who has placed an extremely high value on them and He desires to make that known and have that revealed. The true metal of a man is buried down deep underneath the secrets, hurts and insecurities he hides behind. It is the Christ in him! And, that, my dear reader, is what must be detected. There is where unprecedented worth and purpose reside!
So, I would encourage us all to fully be aware of our Father who reconciled us to himself through Christ and, then in turn, gave us the ministry of reconciliation. May our spiritual, Holy-Spirit led metal detectors be sensitive when we come across the life and heart of people. No matter how buried or hidden they may be, He can find them, redeem them and reveal their true value, if we are willing to love them where they are!
Keep your peace!