You probably have that item in your house. You know, the one that is flawed, even failed, yet you still regard it as precious and can't bear the thought of tossing it in the trash heap. Somehow it reflects something special, something in which you may have invested deeply, perhaps reflecting a particular occasion or period in time that would be (symbolically) lost. We have these flawed, failed, and precious items, and so does our God. It's us.
In Exodus 32, God is about to strike out in divine wrath when God learns that this problematic people are ditching God. For these special people, God has provided all things, from liberation to provisions on the wilderness sojourn, now to the edge of the Promised Land. And these despicable ingrates have decided to worship a golden calf simply because Moses has spent a long time on the mountaintop with God.
Moses intervenes with a nifty negotiating strategy with God and forestalls the punishment these people actually have coming to them. Yes, they were too precious to obliterate, but they were quite maddening!
Jesus is teaching the same kind of thing. Dining with his usual group of tax collectors and other sinners, the Pharisees and scribes grumble behind his back. Jesus picks up on it and tells them two parables.
First, the lost sheep and the shepherd who leaves the other 99 - his whole flock - in order to find the moron sheep who got lost, and probably not the first time either!
Then, the women with 10 coins who loses one. She stops everything and turns her house inside out until she finds that one coin.
Both the shepherd and woman are wildly exuberant at finding and recovering the one who was lost.
Jesus tells them, and us, that this is how God is, how the kingdom is. The ones most cherished and valued are the ones who are lost, forgotten, outcast, and oppressed.
It is about us and about those around us. Find out the whole story in the sermon video below.