Out of Circulation

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Have you ever seen a rare gold coin? Maybe you’ve even had an opportunity to hold one in your hands. The first distinguishing feature you notice is its weight, as they just have that “Hey, I’m worth something” feel to them. Next, if it’s an old European gold coin, you might notice the image of a king and some marking denoting denomination.

Have you ever seen a rare gold coin? Maybe you’ve even had an opportunity to hold one in your hands. The first distinguishing feature you notice is its weight, as they just have that “Hey, I’m worth something” feel to them. Next, if it’s an old European gold coin, you might notice the image of a king and some marking denoting denomination. The thing about coins is that, not only do they have their original value but also an intrinsic metal value based on current market prices, and of course an inflated worth based on rarity. 

But what if you were showing your rare, old gold coin to friends on the beach when someone running along the sand bumps into you, knocking the coin out of your hands and into the sand. Now it’s lost, and although it has value, it is out-of-circulation. It has the name of the King on it, a measured value but as it sits lost somewhere in the sand, it is really of no use or worthless.

In the 15th chapter of the gospel of Luke, Jesus tells three parables that deal with a lost sheep, a lost coin and a lost son. While all three stories are different, they actually were designed to be linked together to explain the bigger concept of God’s grace.

In the first story, a shepherd has one hundred sheep. The group of ninety-nine sheep is all together safe; however, one sheep is lost. The shepherd then leaves the ninety-nine sheep to go out looking for the one lost sheep, and continues searching until he finds it. When he does find it, He rejoices, although he suffered greatly while searching for it. This story is a word picture of Jesus, our Good Shepherd, who went out looking for lost sheep and ends up suffering to the point of death on a cross but rejoices because he ransomed us from death unto life!

In the last story, a father has two sons. The younger son demands his inheritance to see the world. He ends up squandering his entire fortune on the lusts of the world. Eventually, he takes a job feeding swine where, while eating the pig’s feed, he realizes that the servants back at his father’s house have more than enough food, clothing and a place to sleep. The son heads home to ask his father for forgiveness. The father sees his son returning home from a distance and runs out to meet him. They exchange hugs and kisses as the son gets a new robe, ring and the servants kill the fatted calf for a celebration feast. The older son is angry that his father has forgiven the younger son.

The middle story goes like this. “Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it?  And when she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I lost!’ Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

You see, while the coin was lost it was out-of-circulation and of no use in the world, or basically worthless. Indeed, it had value as a coin; it even had the image of the King minted on its face but it was lost in the dirt of the world. The coin was not in circulation where it was meant to pass from someone’s hand into another’s and used for wages, to purchase food, or other commodities. 

In the story of the prodigal son, even though he left his father’s house he didn’t cease being his father’s son. Even though he spent his entire inheritance on lustful living, he didn’t cease to be his father’s son. The older son was angry because he had kept his father’s laws and stayed to work in his father’s house while he watched his younger brother leave and loose his inheritance. But when the younger son repents and returns to the father, the older son is angry that they killed the fatted calf to celebrate his brother’s return.

Don’t you see how we are all like the lost sheep, the lost coin and the wayward son when we are not abiding in Jesus?  Look at the coin story again, if we are not in service for the Lord, then we are like the lost coin that has value and the markings of the king but is out-of-circulation. 

Won’t you examine your own life and see if you are lost, out-of-circulation and need to return to the Father’s house? If you confess and ask for forgiveness the Father will welcome you back with open arms!

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