Years ago, my grandfather told me, “You always find things in the last place you look, so if you need to find something look in the last place first.” Sometimes that works <sarcasm>. You likely remember the Lost and Found room or closet at school? Maybe there is a table where you assemble for worship that has misplaced items on it. You may be like folks I know who always know where the lost and found area is, because that is where they seem to always find their belongings. Losing sunglasses, a book, a set of keys, or a pair of gloves can be momentarily tragic. Some things we lose we even shrug off as not that important or not that valuable. Every summer at Indian Creek Youth Camp (http://www.indiancreekyouthcamp.org/ ) campers and staff alike find clothes, coolers, bags, pillows, stuffed animals, and Bibles on a given lost and found table on the last day — all given up as lost. Some never check the table and these items collect until someone has to make a decision concerning disposal or redistribution.
But what about when people are lost? Every week on social and mass media, authorities issue Amber Alerts or a family posts a plea for help finding a missing child or loved one. There is a very memorable occasion in my
life when I became lost from my family. I was about 12 and my family took a trip to Orlando and visited Disney and their “New” Epcot Center. My dad and I went one direction while my brothers and mom went on a different ride. We were supposed to meet at a certain place. Dad and I arrived first and I asked if I could go get a drink of water. Dad allowed me the freedom to go by myself. I made it to the fountain, but got turned around on the way back. I ended up on the other side of the park from my parents. PANIC set in. I finally realized my mistake when I came back to the water fountain. I immediately went to our meeting place. There I found Mom with a worried look, an upset younger brother (upset not at my being lost, but that he could not ride again until I turned up), and discovering that my dad and older brother were looking for me. This was long before cell phones so there was a lot of waiting that day.
There is a spiritual application. Luke 15 records the story of a son who ran away from home (declaring that he no longer wanted to be a son), a sheep that became separated from the flock, and a woman who lost a valued coin. In each story someone wept over the lost and rejoiced when reconciliation occurred. The simple application for us is threefold: 1) We can find ourselves spiritually lost – separated from God the Father, because of our sinful actions. 2) God desperately seeks us when we are lost because His heart breaks. And 3) There is great joy and celebration the the lost return home.
Friends, are you lost or have you found your way home?