"...Suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she 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 rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents" (Luke 15:8-10, NIV).
The Parable of the Lost Coin, as it is known, has never been very powerful to me. Perhaps it is because I have been fortunate enough in my life to have never had so little money that losing one coin would be detrimental. Oh of course we've been low on money before, but never in a place where it meant life or death. I've never had to chose between feeding my kids and paying my rent. Of course, I also live in the credit card generation, but I digress. I've also lost important things, as we all have. But like I said, for some reason this scripture never resounded with me.
Until a week ago on a Sunday afternoon. After church, my husbands and two sons headed to Disneyland for some family bonding. They joy of being an annual passholder is that you can go for just a few hours and then go home. So this ritual is nothing new or unusual to my kids, nor is our effort to collect smashed pennies - you know, the ones you pay 51 cents for. On this particular trip both Jacob and Josiah had picked out a Pirates of the Caribbean penny.
As we walked out of the park, Josiah, happily enjoying his penny, tossed it up in the air. It was one of those slow motion moments - as it flew threw the air we knew exactly where it was headed - and we all saw it land just off the concrete walkway in the bushes next to us. The horror of knowing that error might have resulted in immediately struck him as Josiah looked for it, but he was not able to see it because the bush was quite thick. Then it was my husband's turn, again looking for penny right where we had seen it land, was not able to find it. He suggested we just leave it, after all, it really wasn't worth much. Or was it?
To us, it was just a penny. To Josiah it was his deepest joy. He had visions of playing with it for the drive home and falling asleep with it in his hand, maybe even taking it to Grandma's house to show her. He had selected the design. He had smashed it by himself in the machine. It was his, and it would be a source of pride and pleasure for years to come.
But not now, it was lost forever. We started to walk away, and I could see his heart breaking. And that's when it happened. I found myself on hands and knees digging under a very prickly bush, removing debris, determined to find where it was. And just a few moments later, alas, there it was.
We all rejoiced, but none so great as Josiah. For it was his penny. It was once loss, but was now found.
Thank you God, that you too loved me like that penny: You saw the worth in me when I was really nothing of great importance, You lowered yourself and came in search of me when I was loss, and You dug me out of the dirt and cleaned me off.