How do you know something is valuable to you?
Last year about this time I was at Wal-Mart buying supplies for my classroom. Teachers do their “back to school” shopping, too. Some Pilot G-2 pens, Expo Dry Erase markers, Post-It notes, push pins. The usual.
I was about to push out of the aisle when I remembered the antique tobacco can on my desk. That would be a good place for more pens.
Reaching for a box of black roller balls, I stopped.
“Wait. I don’t have to buy these. That tobacco can will fill up on its own.”
And it did.
Between all the classes I teach, I had 94 students. Inevitably, after a session I’d find one or two writing instruments on the floor. A Pentel pencil here. A Papermate Ink Joy over there. On occasion, even an old school yellow Ticonderoga #2.
By the end of September my old tobacco can was a veritable bouquet of mechanical pencils, ball points, and gel pens. Assorted colors. Assorted brands. Assorted styles. All with something in common.
They were lost.
And no one was looking for them.
How do we know something is valuable to us?
In Luke’s Gospel, chapter 15, Jesus teaches us how God views lost things. He spoke of the shepherd who understood the difference between 99 and 100 is far more than just a number. It was a precious lamb belonging to a family.
Jesus talked about a woman who lost a silver coin. We may wonder why so much panic over loose change. Yet this wasn’t just any silver coin. It was the equivalent of a wedding ring. Imagine the desperation of looking for your diamond solitaire.
Jesus closes with the father who waits and watches for his ’ner do well son to come home. Sheep and jewelry pale in comparison to a wayward child. The one who insists on learning the hard way, racking up consequences like billiard balls in a pool hall, with no thought to the future.
Jesus tells us the Father saw him “from a long distance”. It wasn’t a fortunate glance. It was a purposeful watch and wait till there was no more reason to wonder. The wayward son had come home.
What makes something valuable is when it goes missing it is searched for. When it’s gone, we go after it. We look around every corner and under every rock. We flip every cushion on the couch. We dump every drawer. We even look in places we know it would never logically be. You’ve never taken off your diamond ring in the garage but you’ll look there because when it’s valuable there’s no place you won’t go and nothing you won’t try to find it.
Jewish rabbis have admitted the one new thing Jesus taught them about God is that He actively pursues lost people. Which is to say Jesus came to seek and save sinners like you and me.
We know something is valuable to us when we search for it when it’s lost. God is searching for you. Because you are valuable to Him. Whatever got you lost, or however you got yourself lost, know that God delights in you. He is the good Father, watching and waiting.
With arms wide open.
Because there is great joy when that which was lost is found.
“So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.” – Luke 15:20
Todd A. Thompson – One Eye Out
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Another great message Todd. It reminds me of the words of a song I added to my iPad recently–“Reckless Love” by Cory Asbury. It talks about the “overwhelming, never ending, reckless love of God”. Great reminder of God’s great love for us and what He has done or will do to pursue us and welcome us home. Just back from Egypt where I saw God’s reckless love in action both weeks. Thanks Todd!
Thanks, Doug. I agree. We are beyond fortunate that God recklessly pursues us. Glad you got to see that in another corner of the world! – tat
Todd, Thank you for another valuable message from God’s WORD! I have a question for Doug.
Doug Gould: What do the words “Reckless Love” imply? Webster Dictionary provides the definition as: reckless: 1: marked by lack of proper caution : careless of consequences, 2 : irresponsible reckless charges. Scriptures with the word reckless all reflect sinful actions:
Judges 9:4 And they gave him seventy pieces of silver out of the house of Baal-berith with which Abimelech hired worthless and reckless fellows, who followed him.
Proverbs 14:16 One who is wise is cautious and turns away from evil, but a fool is reckless and careless.
Jeremiah 23:32 Behold, I am against those who prophesy lying dreams, declares the Lord, and who tell them and lead my people astray by their lies and their recklessness, when I did not send them or charge them. So they do not profit this people at all, declares the Lord.
Luke 15:13 Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living.
2 Timothy 3:4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,
I would like to see the word reckless replaced by “relentless.” Then I could agree with the message in the song. By the way, it is one of my favorite songs, but exchanging relentless for reckless.
Phyllis – Thanks for taking time to read the column. I appreciate it! I’d agree with Doug. I believe “reckless” is a wonderful word to describe God’s pursuit of us. Even the dictionary definition fits. There’s nothing cautious or measured about God’s love. If He cared about the consequences of pursuing us there would be no reason to offer His only Son. The only way for Him to be measured and safe would be to let us die under the consequences of our sin. So “reckless” is a wonderful way to describe God’s love for us. God’s love is also relentless, as you mention. But it is also reckless and that’s a gift to us. – tat
Was listening to the song, Reckless Love, today and wondering if the song was maybe just kind of wrong or skewed somehow. Glad to find out that it is not.