Friday, October 28, 2005

A Lost Coin and a Found Ring

"Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.' In the same way, I tell you, there is great rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents." Luke 15:8-10

I own a ring that I wear on an almost daily basis. The ring consists of two silver circles banded together at the base. It has a small cross on one of the bands, balanced by a small dash on both sides. From a purely material and profit perspective, the ring is not worth much at all. If I sold it I would be lucky to get more than a few dollars. However, to me this ring is priceless. It was given to me by my best friend in college as a gift for being one of the groomsmen in his wedding. He was going to dental school and took a jewelry making class and made the ring himself. He created it especially for me and everytime I look at it, it is a reminder not only of my friend and the memories we shared together, but also of all the good times and wonderful experiences I had when I was first in college.

The last 7 summers I have worked at a church camp in Wisconsin. Until this summer, I had always kept the ring at a safe place at home for fear that I would loose it amidst all the craziness at camp. This summer I decided to bring my ring along and wear it. After having worked at the camp longer than some of the children coming there were old, I knew it would be safe when I wore it and on the occassions that I would have to take it off I knew I could keep it in a safe place.

There was one day this summer when I woke up in the morning and I couldn't find the ring. I had placed it on the shelf the night before in the same safe spot as I had done almost every night that summer, but the ring was not there. I began searching all over the place. I looked in every bag and container in the cabin. Then I relooked. I made and unmade the bed three times. Later in the day I explained to my campers what had happened and they searched all their bags. We took every piece of trash out of the trash cans, but were unable to find it. We eventually gave up. The ring was gone, presumably forever. The next day I was still concerned and during free time began looking through my bags one more time. I emptied my laundry bag onto the floor. The day before I had done the same thing, but this time I felt every piece of laundry instead of just dumping out and searching through. During the search, I found the ring. Somehow it had fallen into a pocket on a pair of work-out shorts. I was filled with joy. I immediately told my campers when I found them what had happened and that night I gave a devotional on what had happened.

God loves us all and whether we choose to accept that or not, it is true. God rejoices over us and wants the very best for us. But many of us have no idea how much God loves us. We turn our backs against Him and despite his gentle words and kind touches, we turn a deaf ear. Even those of us who are believers and have accepted His grace, mercy, and love are no better. We know that in the long run sin is destructive and that it has consequences, but we love our sin and it makes us feel so good. God's heart grieves and groans over us when we reject him. Yet, God also rejoices over us. When someone first realizes their true nature and turns from their ways to Jesus, He rejoices! When we realize our sin and confess it to Him, He rejoices. Jesus rejoices in the same way that I rejoiced on the day I found my lost ring.

We are all sinners, tainted with the soul-sickness until we die. But, we can have an abundant and joyful life. So, if you know of the grace of God and how He has redeemed you, rejoice! And when someone who has never known Jesus begins to accept His gift and starts a relationship with Him, rejoice! Rejoice in the same way that the woman rejoiced when she found her coin and in the same way when I found my ring. God is rejoicing and so should we.

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