Imagine a simple wooden chair in the middle of a large room. Let’s say Jesus is sitting in that chair, His eyes seeing down into the depths of your soul. Now, think about your walk with Christ and where you are in your relationship with Him. Don’t think about where you would like to be, but where you really are in your relationship with Him. Now imagine standing in the room the distance from the chair that reflects your relationship with Jesus. Where would you be? Are you sitting in the chair? Are you a few feet away? Are you out the door facing the other way?
I didn’t want to admit the reality of my relationship with Jesus because I wasn’t nearly as close as I would like to be. Honestly, I wasn’t even just a few feet away. But as I looked up, I saw others just as far or near as I was, I began to feel less alone in my personal struggle. Not more than one person was touching the chair that day. It put into perspective that we all have difficulties in our walk with Christ, even youth leaders and those who seem like they have it all figured out.
This powerful moment helped to make clear what Damian Chandler spoke about earlier that morning. He focused on the parables of the lost sheep, the prodigal son, and the lost coin. The sheep and prodigal son were lost outside but the coin was lost in the house. How many of the young people in attendance that day were like the lost coin? How many of young people, just like me, were in church, active, or leaders, but still lost? How long before they gave up on being found within the walls of our church and started looking elsewhere?
This got me thinking. Luke 15 doesn’t just talk about the different types of lost people God pursues and searches diligently for. It gives us a picture of the kind of lost souls that we should be looking to reach, not just outside our church walls, but within them too. Of all the lost sheep and prodigals in this world, how many of them started out as a lost coin? How long did they sit, lost, in the pews before finally deciding not to attend church anymore? Did anyone notice? Did anyone try to contact them?
The woman in the parable searched desperately for the lost coin. In those days, when a man and woman were engaged, the groom would give his bride ten coins, which she wore around her waist on a chain. If she did not have all ten coins, her fiancé could only assume that she used the coin to buy the affections of another lover. This gave him the right to have her stoned. So, the woman searched desperately for the coin lost somewhere in her home. She lit a lamp and searched carefully, sweeping her dirt floor to see if it would be uncovered. This coin would not have been lost had its link been strong.
Many young people my age and the generations after, look for connection. A link through which they can stay connected. Until I developed a personal relationship with Jesus in college, it was my friendships that kept me coming back. In many ways its true today, I look forward to see my church family and worshiping together. Just as important as it is to minister to those outside the church, we need to remember to minister to each other.
We can only be as strong as our link is to Jesus Christ and each other.