geezeronthequad: Jesus Will Stoop for Lost Change – Luke 15:8-10
It was lunchtime at a feeding center; hunger was your ticket to get in. But first they had to listen to someone say something from the Bible before they ate. On this day, that was me. I used this passage and pointed out that I was glad to share this with them because I knew we all had one thing in common; we pick up lost change. Sometimes I get burned. I glanced down at the sidewalk one day to see a bunch of silver, maybe a dollar and a half, laying there with no one in sight who might have dropped it. I couldn’t pick it up; it was glued to the sidewalk. Seems I knelt down in front of a “Gags and Gifts” store on April 1st and the staff inside had a good laugh on me.
Having told the sheep story to a bunch of Pharisees bent out of shape by the kind of people Jesus hung out with (Luke 15:1-7), He wiggled the needle in a little deeper with this story of a woman tearing up her place for a lost coin. Women came in a few notches higher than shepherds on the Pharisees “Scale of Contempt”. The Roman world as a whole felt the same way. Women held no credibility in courts of law. Men could divorce their wives on the shallowest unjust pretense by just handing them written notice. And that’s why the woman in Jesus’ story hunted so desperately for one coin; it might have been part of her dowry. That dowry, money she brought into the marriage, would be all the assets she would have if she were thrown out of her home in a divorce of convenience. Maybe it was a good chunk of her food budget. But we aren’t talking about change glued to the sidewalk; this was no joke. And she was hard after it, frantically raking the dirt or stone floor of her house with her broom in the dim light of an olive oil lamp staining to hear the rattle of the lost coin.
I’ve already blown my cover. “Gags and Gifts” didn’t break me from picking up loose coins. But some people won’t. Why not? You can’t pick it up if you don’t know you dropped it. Especially in winter juggling gloves and coffee at the 7-11, we drop change just fumbling with our gear and walk away. Either somebody tells us or someone finds it later. They might need it more than we did anyway. Some people know they dropped a penny or two but it’s just a penny. No big deal. It’s down there in slush and gook we don’t want to dig around in so we leave it and keep moving. Finally, some people won’t stoop no matter how much they drop. It’s not about the money; it’s about the stooping. The cool, the competent, the self-sufficient, the elite in their own mind don’t stoop for anything or anybody – not for lost coins or the desperate women hunting for them. The Pharisees wore this like a ski mask on a bank robber and Jesus knew it.
This ends the same way as the shepherd story. Big Happy Dance, part II (One more story after this one. Start polishing your dancing shoes now and go buy a confetti cannon.) Rejoicing in heaven over one person drawn to light, truth and forgiveness in Jesus. Even one sheep or one coin that a Pharisee couldn’t be bothered to look or stoop for. People can get to where they not only trash themselves but everybody else who should or might have loved them trashes them too. Or just quits because it hurts too much to keep trying. God is after these people with His broom. And Jesus will have lunch with them. Will we? A gang of people came to our church to help with some ministry and work projects. At week’s end, we went sight-seeing into Detroit and hit the riverfront in general and Hart Plaza where there’s a great fountain that kids and anybody can splash around in. As the kids ran to jump into the fountain, they missed the mostly naked homeless man already bathing there. Ah, a teachable moment!
The only reason the church is still in the world is so we can have lunch with and sit next to the ones that nobody else will. God could just vaporize us out of space and time when we embrace Jesus Christ. I’ll bet our summer has some lost coins rattling around somewhere. Ask the Holy Spirit to help us hear since the rattle of its lostness can be so faint that otherwise nobody notices.
If you think that this might encourage a college student or someone who loves them, then subscribe, share, tweet and all that social media stuff. If you already subscribe to geezeronthequad.com, then think about joining Geezer 1, the online clubhouse for a pretty cool bunch of people. It’s a mix of students, student ministry leaders, professors, administrators, musicians, artists, writers, composers, broadcasters, booksellers cultural thinkers and entrepreneurs as well as a few campus rats who think that Jesus Christ thinks that the university is a special place. All in Geezer 1 see the latest post from geezeronthequad.com as well as other good stuff from the rest of the gang. Take a look and, if it’s not your cup of whatever your cup is, you can always hit the exit chute. They’re a sharp bunch and your coming in will only make us better. Go to Facebook or firstname.lastname@example.org to request to join. If the Facebook dog eats your homework (and he sometimes does), we will ask you to resubmit.
Please return your seat to the upright position and give your infrared night vision goggles to the attendant as you exit to the rear. See you next post at geezeronthequad.com.