Suppose my child has ten silver coins and loses a coin, he would think “OH well, I have plenty more, who cares!”
Suppose I have 100 different assets in my house and a robber came in a stole one thing! While I would be annoyed, I would be happy that he didn’t take more and the insurance will cover the one thing, if I could even be bothered to make a claim for such a small thing. After all, I still have 99 left. I will simply replace it with something else, even though I don’t really need to.
Let’s be honest, possessions are expendable, even people are sometimes expendable. If something is lost we simply replace it. For many if something is broken and yet fixable, we would often rather buy the newer model anyway. Sadly, we don’t even usually wait till it is broken to upgrade.
As I was trying to work through how I tell these parables to my children, to tell of the depth of the Lord’s love for us, the lengths that He will go to, I find it can get “lost in translation”. So many kids around me couldn’t be bothered searching for a silver coin. It has no value for them. They just ask Mum and she gives them another.
I was speaking to an adult recently, who couldn’t understand why the Creator would even create people who have the capacity to get lost. He even said that it is the Creator’s fault to have created such faulty people. So in this context to explain the depth of His love, that He would sacrifice the 99 to go find the 1 gets lost on such a mindset! God’s sacrificial love was not the concern for this man. He actually questioned if the Creator knew what He was doing from the start.
When Jesus was telling these two parables in particular, he sat amongst Pharisees who didn’t think much of him at all. At this time they questioned whether he knew what he was doing. To them Jesus was clearly doing it wrong, as at the time of telling this parable he was eating with sinners and this was not the best way to win votes of popularity with them especially.
It is hard times today, when the message of God’s love has to break through an abundance of possessions and the ability to create our own destinies and dreams. Quite frankly, so many just don’t see the need for God at all. This is true for all ages.
Then we come to the third story, as Jesus often talks in trilogies. By the third story the message starts to hit home a little more. When the son is left with nothing and is truly lost, he has nowhere to go. Then the grace and love that is bestowed on him starts to strike a cord today with people.
Of course, my adult friend would say it was foolish of the father to even give him the money in the first place, what was he thinking! I believe that was Jesus’s point in the story as He was speaking to the Pharisees and likening them to the older brother who was very angry about the whole situation. The love of the father is the love God desires to give to us, even though He knows we will squander it and waste it. It is only when we have lost everything and really messed up that we can appreciate the depths of the Father’s grace and love. For so many in Western society we have what we need and we have it in abundance. We tend to take it for granted and somewhat expect it, as if we are somehow owed it in the first place. This is a common attitude I see in our children today.
While we are expecting the world, while we are able to replace whatever we have lost, while we see possessions and life as expendable, God’s message has never changed. What once was lost is now found and it is all that matters to Him, that the son has come home, that the lost sheep is found and that the coin is discovered again. Surely, we don’t ALL have to wait till we have nothing and are completely lost to discover His love. Or do we!
I pray that God’s message of LOVE doesn’t get “Lost in Translation.” Let’s translate it so our children and people can come to know how wide, how deep, how high the Father’s love is for everyone.