Searching For The Lost

By Tom Wacaster

Studying the parable of the lost coin provides rich spiritual treasures. It is informative, for it tells us of the joy in heaven over one lost soul. It is instructive, for it teaches us the value of one soul. It is inspiring, for it compels us to see the urgency of seeking that which is lost. I am particularly interested in the words in verse eight: "If she lose one piece, doth not light a lamp, and sweep the house, and seek diligently until she find it." I am not attempting to lift these words out of the immediate context, but like so many passages there are nuggets of truth often hidden within the broader context. Such is the case here.

Try to imagine the woman as she realizes that one coin has gone missing. There is something urgent in her action. She does not seem to hesitate in taking proper action. She does not call a committee together to discuss how to go about searching. She does not shift the blame for her own neglect. She does not berate, belittle, or boast. What does she do? She lights a lamp to illuminate the dark recesses of her house. She takes a broom and sweeps the house, no doubt running that broom under the edges of anything that may hug the floor and obstruct her vision. With broom in one hand, and a lamp in the other, she seeks for the lost coin. Here is a word filled with determination. Thayer tells us that the word means "to seek in order to find." Another word arrests our attention from this verse. It is translated by our English word "diligently." The word connotes care coupled with earnestness. "Seek" and "diligently" denote the intensity of the woman's search.

Now turn your attention to our Lord. Luke tells us that He came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). Like the woman in this parable, He sought lost souls. He came quietly when He entered His sojourn upon this earth. Even as a lad of twelve, He was about His Father's business (Luke 2:49). Doubtless His years prior to His public ministry were years of seeking, searching, and diligently watching for opportunities to teach others about His Father in heaven. When He entered His public ministry, He searched the highways and byways, in the marketplace, at the customs' table, and by the seashore. He went into the mountains, down into the valleys, over the sea, all the way to the Cross of Calvary, always seeking, always searching. He gave His life to seeking the lost and shed His blood to bring them home to the Father.

Is there a message in this parable for us? Oh, indeed there is! If the spirit of our Lord was such that He went about seeking and saving the lost, how can we do any less? How shall we go about it? We must light our lamp and carry it with us. That lamp is the Gospel of our Lord. We do not carry some moral idea, or human sophistry, but the light of the Gospel. Beloved, the world will not be saved by maxims or lofty ideals taken from the most brilliant of scholars. Having the lamp in one hand, we must take the broom in the other hand and sweep away the cobwebs of human wisdom, "casting down imaginations, and every high thing that is exalted against the knowledge of Christ" (2 Cor. 10:5). With lamp and broom, we must, like the woman in this parable, go forth with diligence. As one author put it, "It is not more organization we want, it is more personal consecration, the surrender of the will and the heart in this seeking mission in the service of the Great Commander who came to seek and to save the lost" (Hastings, 437).