But here are your directions: Read Luke 15. In this chapter, Jesus demonstrates for us what he meant when he said that he, the "Son of Man," came to seek and to save that which was lost. The chapter starts by setting the setting. Jesus is talking to a bunch of the social outcasts, the ones who had really messed up their lives - and the social and religious ‘elite' were trashing him for it.
It gets even better when he speaks. Jesus tells the story of his Dad's love, three times. And in each of the stories we find ourselves; we find people we know; we find the lost. More accurately - God finds the lost. That's what his love is all about.
His first story is one you've seen pictured a hundred times in paintings. The shepherd has 100 sheep. One of them gets lost. You think he wanted to? No. The sheep was looking down, focused on his meal of grass, preoccupied, when the shepherd called and the flock moved. He just didn't notice. He looked up at the end of the day - and there he was - on his own - lost. It doesn't take much to see how that happens to people all around us - even to you. Life gets busy and you're looking down.
You're focused on the task at hand - and it gets hard to hear the Shepherd's call.
In the second story the woman has silver coins - but loses one. That coin didn't intend to get lost. The woman was just careless, didn't take care of it. How many children today are ending up like that lost coin? Parents not caring enough to empower them with God's word and fill them with the knowledge of God's love for them that is only revealed in any real way in his word. I know our Sunday School has a few too many empty seats.
Then there's the story of the "prodigal son." Read that and you see a boy who just miscalculated. He figured that life would be better without the father than with him. That story is all too real for us too. Are you lost? Do you get lost? Whether it's from being preoccupied or having been treated carelessly, or miscalculating in life - here's the truth: The Son of Man (Jesus) came to seek and to save that which was lost. He came to find you.
So in the stories, the shepherd goes out and risks his life to find that preoccupied sheep, as Jesus came and gave his life to win us back. And the woman sweeps her whole house, turning up every corner to find that coin - as our God uses every possible means to reach us. And the father of that prodigal (lost) son goes searching for his son, and when he sees him, he runs and picks him up and celebrates because the lost has been found.
The truth is, our savior has found you. He gave his life to find you. Appreciate that. Celebrate that. Why don't you come find us this Sunday for our Fall Family Fun Day at the property where we'll be building soon (5510 Ga. Highway 212)? We'll celebrate God's grace for you that has found you.
Rev. Jonathan Scharf is pastor of Abiding Grace Lutheran Church in Covington. Full sermons and more information can be found at www.abidinggrace.com.