Luke 15:1-10: “1 Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. 2 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” 3 Then Jesus told them this parable: 4 “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? 5 And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6 and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ 7 I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. 8 “Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? 9 And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ 10 In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
I let folks know that I do dream analysis. The greater truth is that God does the dream analysis and I just let God speak through me. Over the years I have learned that you are every person and every “thing” in your dream. So if you are dreaming about having a hard time finding your way back home because there is one person after another blocking your way to your final destination, you are not only your “home” but you are each person blocking your way. Therefore, your dream is trying to show you how you are blocking your own progress to your destiny. This is usually brand new news to those I sit and listen to.
I think that Jesus’ parables are a lot like our dreams. Jesus is every person – every “thing” in the parable to some degree. We usually hear the story of the lost sheep and the lost coin as God or Jesus being the good shepherd as well as the woman who is searching. But I wonder what would happen if we turned the story on its head and looked at the lost sheep and the lost coin as Jesus or God.
Maybe it is God who is wondering whether we will give up everything we know in the grand pastures of our lives in order to seek God. Maybe it is God who wants us to realize that nothing is more important than finding God. Maybe it is God who wants us to walk down the mountainside, across slippery slopes, and across wide streams to go and find God. Maybe it is God who wants us to turn on every lamp of our heart, sweep out all of the dusty cobwebs in our soul, and search high and low until we find God’s abiding presence.
And I don’t think that I am alone in saying there are times when God goes missing in our lives. We search and yet God is MIA or missing in action. We pray and we pray and we hear nothing back. We scour Scripture for a word from God for our thirsty souls and we end up being empty handed. What will we do? God assumes that we will keep on searching – we will keep on looking – we will keep persevering until we track God down. Jesus asks the questions: “doesn’t he?” and “doesn’t she?” versus asking the questions: “does he” or “does she?” Jesus naturally assumes that we are hearty stock folks who will go on looking – who will go on searching – and who will never give up even if and when the darkness descends. Jesus assumes that finding God is worth all of the sweat, pain, and anxiety for the moment of finding God.
And for those of us who have made the long trek across mountains and valley’s or embarked on the painful process of cleaning out the metaphorical homes of our lives, when we find God we rejoice and want to share our joy with others. We also remember the trek – we remember the sweeping – we remember the journey and give others hope who are just starting their search that God will be found at the end of it all no matter how dark and dank it might get. And thus, we can all rejoice.
Will you leave your 99? Will you go over the steep mountain slopes, through the valleys, and up the craggy mountainside to find God? Will you sweep away all those cobwebs that have built up inside of your soul? Will you search high and low until God is found? God is waiting. God is ready to rejoice with you.