One day I lost my earrings. My daughter had bought them for me with her first salary, so you can imagine how precious they are to me. I thought I had left them in a beauty salon. I called the salon, but the earrings were not there. I looked for them everywhere. I finally found them on the floor of my car. Somehow, I had dropped them while putting them in my purse for safekeeping. Can you imagine how elated I was to find them?
I am sure that Jesus feels a thousand times more excited when one lost member of his family comes home. I imagine this as Jesus putting together a puzzle. Jesus needs that one more piece of the puzzle, and that could be you or me.
Can you believe that your presence could bring so much joy in heaven? You don’t have to do anything; you can just be yourself and turn to God.
Jesus says, “There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” What is repentance? The word metanoia means turning around or “a transformative change of heart,” according to Webster’s dictionary. Repentance does not have to be an event like Saul experienced on the road to Damascus. (See Acts 9.) We can turn around anytime.
Once we realize that we are on a wrong road, it’s easy to turn around as soon as possible: simple repentance. Our turning around will bring tremendous joy to God, just as the sheep that was lost brings joy in the parable.
Do you need to turn around at this juncture of your life? Remember, God wants you home.
Wise God, thank you for letting me join in your joy when I turn around toward you. Amen.
Jeremiah’s warning of coming judgment continues. The children of Israel have become foolish, have ignored God, and have become good mainly at doing evil. God is going to respond to this situation. The psalmist describes the state of all who are foolish: they deny God and follow their own corrupt desires, including the oppression of the poor. The author of First Timothy, traditionally Paul, says that this was also his former way of life. He has been foolish and ignorant, a persecutor of the followers of Christ. In fact, he had been the worst of all sinners; yet Christ has shown him mercy, not judgment. Jesus tells two parables to reveal God’s heart. Rather than neglecting the ignorant, the foolish, and the lost, God searches to find each one of us.
Read Jeremiah 4:11-12, 22-28. How do your actions show others that you know God?
Read Psalm 14. When have you, like the psalmist, felt that no one knows God? How did you have faith that God would restore God’s people?
Read 1 Timothy 1:12-17. Recall a time when you felt unworthy of Christ Jesus’ full acceptance. How has that experience made you more grateful for Christ’s mercy?
Read Luke 15:1-10. In a world full of death and violence, how do you rejoice when God finds one lost person?
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