Luke 15 gives three stories of lost things that are returned. A shepherd finds a lost sheep, a woman finds a lost coin and a father has a son return home. And I find in these stories the significance of the goodness that is in the good news of our faith. Most often when we think of the good news of our faith we focus on the good news in the grace given to us by God. From the Luke 15 context the good news is that we are the lost sheep that is rescued, we are the lost coin that is found and we are the prodigal son that is welcomed home. This is good news indeed. But the good news does not end there. There is a continuance in the good news that is often overlooked.
Our faith is not just good news for us, it is good news for God as well. Often the focus in the stories from Luke 15 is about how good it is for the lost things. But the celebrating is not done by the sheep, coin or son. The celebrating is done by the shepherd, seeker of the coin and the father. In fact in the further explanation Jesus gives for these stories, the celebration takes place not even hereon earth, but in heaven with all of the angels. This is a fantastic picture. I especially like the image of the Father who is so happy for his child, his own concerns and worries mean nothing compared to that of the joy in his child. This reminds me that the joy and good news is not just ours, it is His as well. Which means that is actually more good news for us. Because it means that the good news celebration that begins with the redemption, begins with the finding can continue.
All of these scenarios from the Luke passage are the beginning parts. But what happens after? Does the lost the Sheep runaway? Does the shepherd stop caring and neglect that found sheep? Does the shepherd immediately resent the trouble the sheep has caused, and treat it poorly? I honestly doubt it. Did the woman immediately misplace or spend her coin? Instead she probably took even better care of it after it was found. Well, maybe if those were truly earthly scenarios some of these things could be the case, but God is more than our abilities, so the answer is no. Did the son spend immediately betray his dad? Did the father spend the rest of his days dealing with resentment over an ungrateful son? No, the son most likely spent a huge amount of effort living a life to show his dad his appreciation, and his father understood the precious gift of the presence of his son. I would like to suggest that what came after the event of being found continues to be good news. The father continued celebrating the return and caring for the son, doing all he can to see him thrive and succeed. And the son, spent the rest of his days living up to his dad’s example of grace and rightness. And if we are smart we can learn from this idea in how we respond to our heavenly father who celebrates our return to him. God has called for us, the lost who have been found, to live fruitful lives. This is not a punitive obligation, nor an unnecessary burden. It is a continued celebration and living of the good news that is our faith.
It is good news that we are welcomed home with open arms and an open heart. And it is good news to our heavenly father that we come back to him. And both of these things combined mean the good news continues as we go forward continuing to celebrate that good news by listening to him and shaping our lives to follow his example in such a way that anyone can look and see that we are followers of Christ.
This is who we are if we chose to do this faith-life thing. If we are wanting to follow this Christ-like life then we are striving to Love God and Love People. Not by what we are called but what we live. We begin that life in celebration of being found and redeemed. We are celebrated by a father who is so thoroughly happy to have us that he cannot help but throw a party. And we then respond by wanting nothing more than to gratefully continue that good news of love from him in all that we do.
Meet the Pasotr
Pastor Heather and her family have been a part of the Cold Lake Community since December 2006 and she has been the pastor at Community Baptist Church since September 2017.