Lost & Found
Lost & Found
Over the next five weeks we’re going to take a look at the radical, reckless love of God that compels us to reevaluate our understanding of things that are lost and found. In Luke 15 Jesus tells three stories of something that was lost, the ensuing search, and the ultimate discovery--that which was lost is found!
Now, in the Bible, just like in other contexts, it’s important that if someone is telling a story, we try to understand why the story is being told. Part of the meaning of the story can be lost if we don’t understand the context. So, the first couple of verses of Luke 15 give us the context as to why Jesus told these three stories. The Bible says, Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” (Luke 15:1-2).
It’s in the context of the great divide between the religious and the irreligious that Jesus tells these stories--stories of things of great value that are lost, the search and longing for those things to be found, and the ultimate discovery and celebration that comes when the lost is found.
The first story is the story of a lost sheep. The second story is about a woman who loses a coin. But the third story is a little different. The third story is about a son who demands his inheritance early and walks away. And this is where this third story takes a new direction. Unlike the first two stories where a great search is made, in this story the father lets his son go and lose his way. No search is made, although it’s evident of the great longing the father had for his son to come home. And also there’s a new character added to the story: an older brother, the “good” one who didn’t go astray, who faithfully fulfilled his duty to his father.
Ultimately, this story is a tale of these two sons, and we are meant to compare and contrast them. And if we don’t compare and contrast them, we miss the radical message that Jesus gives us.
Jesus also wants us to see ourselves in the story. He wants us to see that we’re missing something in our lives. He wants us to long for something. He wants us to seek something. He wants us to hope for home.
Jesus’ purpose in telling this story was not to give us a sentimental message. Jesus is saying that everything you’ve basically heard and everything you’ve basically thought about how to approach God is wrong.
As we dive into this new series, we’re going to discover more of what it means to live out a radically transformed life—not as elder brothers, not younger brothers, but people receiving and sharing this “Reckless Love” of God.
Maybe you haven’t thought of God’s love as “reckless” before, but in Jesus’ story, He shows the recklessly extravagant love of the Father, the type of love that many religious people in Jesus’ day thought only came to them by their performance, how “good” they were, how “religious” they were. But the love of the father in the story was reckless, because it was bestowed on the younger brother who didn’t deserve that love.
And in the story we find ourselves: the religious ones who think that by our performance we earn God’s love, and those of us who go our own way, only to be amazed by the reckless love of our heavenly Father.
Back in 2005 there was an elder from Southland CC in Lexington, KY by the name of Ron Hargett who joined the board of directors for a ministry we had down in New Orleans called Building Better Communities. Through that working relationship, I got to know Ron and his wife Robin, and I found out that Ron can really identify with the prodigal son in Jesus’ story. And he was willing to travel here from Lexington this weekend to share his story with us.