At the 9 a.m. service yesterday, The Rev. Malone Gilliam recounted the two parables about the lost sheep and coin. In the first story, one sheep is lost out of one hundred, but the shepherd leaves the 99 sheep (“the righteous”) and goes to rescue the one sheep that has wondered off (“the sinner”). In the second story, a woman loses one coin of ten and she turns the house upside down until she finds the missing one. When the sheep and the coin are returned, the neighbors are invited to celebrate with joy just as the angels in heaven celebrate when one sinner repents.
Malone continued to explain repentance. Although it is often thought of as recognizing a mistake and promising not to commit it again, it’s more than that. Although it is good to want to avoid sin, we all fail miserably. We make a promise to God and it’s not long before we have returned to our old behavior. True repentance occurs not when we are sorry for a mistake, but instead when we admit that we are lost and understand that only the love of Jesus Christ can redeem us.
Neither the sheep nor the coin has the capacity to repent. Jesus knows who is lost and goes to find us. It is God’s determination to rescue us even before we recognize that we are lost.
It brings joy to remember that God finds us in the desert of our lostness, not in the garden of self-improvement.
Blessings, my friend,
(click below for MP3 file)