I’ve lost my keys. Not all my keys, just the spare keys for the car my wife drives. So now, every time we go somewhere in her car I have to borrow her keys. We’ve searched the house; even looking behind dressers and under couches. I’ve even looked in the freezer because you never know. I remember one time when I was a kid, I lost something (I don’t remember what), found it, and reported my joy to Grandpa Joe. He said, “I bet I know where you found it.” He paused for a moment and added, “the last place you looked.” You know what he was right! My lost thing was in the last place I looked. And when I find my keys, they will be in the last place I look.
Continuing from the parable of the lost sheep, Jesus told another parable of lost things. The parable of a lost coin. “Or what woman, if she has ten silver coins and loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? “When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin which I had lost!’ “In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”” (Luke 15:8–10, NASB95) There’s various speculation regarding why the coins are important to the woman. What is significant is her thoroughness in the search and her joy when she recovers the coin. Similar to the parable of the lost sheep, the woman goes out of her way to find what she has lost. Also, similar to the lost sheep, she reports her joy to her neighbors and friends. Let’s put her joy in a more modern context, she posts her joy on Facebook and Google+, tweets it, texts it, and for the sake of Grandpa emails it. Essentially, she tells the world about her joy.
The point of the parable is that there is joy expressed before the angels when a sinner repents. God just doesn’t feel joy when a lost one returns, he shares it with the angelic witnesses.
I remember this old TV talent show, long before American Idol and the like, that used an audience meter to determine the winner. Basically, the louder the audience the more the needle moved. Imagine that such a meter exists in heaven, it’s time to move the needle. It’s time to increase God’s joy through our personal confession and repentance. It’s also time to move the needle by thoroughly and exhaustively searching for those that are like the lost coin; buried in the dirt and dust of this world. Not to condemn them, but to share the light of our joy in Christ with them.