Lutheran Hour Ministries

Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

"A Warm-Hearted God"

September 12, 2019

Luke 15:1-10 - Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear Him. And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, "This man receives sinners and eats with them." So He told them this parable: "What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.' Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. "Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.' Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents."

What if you were the shepherd in Jesus' story? Would you leave the ninety-nine sheep in the open country to go after one? I'm not so sure I would have. Leaving sheep on their own isn't a good idea. While I was gone, ten more would probably get lost. And then there were the wolves and lions. I'd probably do the math and decide to settle for the 99 I still had.

What about the woman who found the lost coin? Would you call together your friends and neighbors to announce that you'd found a lost coin? They would probably ask why you were foolish enough to misplace such a valuable thing in the first place! And of course you'd have to feed everybody—now that they're all on your doorstep. The cost of the party would probably come to more than the coin was worth.

A practical person would call both of these people foolish. By their behavior, they run the risk of losing more than they gain. And yet there's something cold-hearted about simply "doing the math" and making decisions based on numbers. Who could admire Ebenezer Scrooge?

Jesus makes it clear that God is no penny-pincher. He loves with all His heart, truly, passionately. When He loses a sheep, He goes after it without counting the cost. And that is what He did for you and me.

If God had asked me for advice after Adam and Eve fell into sin, I'm afraid I would have said, "Cut your losses. Wipe them out and start over again. It only took six days to make this whole universe. Why pay a greater price?" Thank God, God didn't want my advice. He knew exactly what He was going to do. He was going to become a human being, to be born, grow up, and suffer among us. He was going to lay down His own life to rescue us—and then take it up again. Jesus was going to save us, no matter what the cost was to Himself. And He did.

But that wasn't the end of the story. Because then came the time of rejoicing—the party—the celebration in heaven, God rejoicing with the angels. How could God rejoice over someone as unimportant as you or me? And yet Jesus says He does. We are not unimportant in His eyes. He will go beyond all reason to get us back—because He loves us.

THE PRAYER: Lord, thank You for loving me. Please keep me safe with You forever. Amen.

This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.

Reflection Questions:

1. How intent are you in finding something when it is lost? Depends on what it is, right?

2. There's a lot of rejoicing going on in these two passages. When's the last time you found something that you were truly excited to find?

3. How can you express to others in your own words and witness how thrilled God is when He finds a sinner who was lost and now is found?