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Finding the Lost Coin (Not for Women Only)

MsDora, a former teacher and Christian counselor, presents practical Scriptural principles for joyful everyday living.

What woman ... if she loses one coin, does not search carefully until she finds it?

What woman ... if she loses one coin, does not search carefully until she finds it?

The Parable of the Lost Coin

"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." (Luke 15:8-10 NKJV)

What's So Unique About It?

The Parable of the Lost Coin is sandwiched between The Parable of the Lost Sheep and The Parable of the Lost Son. All three parables tell the story (in symbols) of God’s search for fallen man, but the story of the lost coin is far less popular than the other two. That’s not the only difference.

In the other two parables, God is represented by a male (the shepherd and the father, respectively). In The Parable of the Lost Coin, the most unique factor is that the Searcher-Redeemer is a woman. She’s not presented as anyone’s relative. She does not have any title that reveals her social status. She’s just "woman."

In the first parable, the shepherd loses a sheep which strayed from the fold and in the third, the father loses a son who walked away. In the story of lost coin, the woman loses a coin which, by itself, is motionless. The sheep and the son are in danger; there is no known threat to the coin. Still, the coin bears some built-in value which makes the woman search for it.

We may blame the sheep for wandering from the flock, and we may condemn the son for traveling to the far country. But the coin remains in the house. So, we wonder whether the woman is responsible for the loss, while we harbor no such dubious thought about the shepherd and the father.

In The Parable of the Lost Coin, the Searcher-Redeemer is a woman.

In The Parable of the Lost Coin, the Searcher-Redeemer is a woman.

Is God Less Able in a Woman?

We cannot blame the woman for the loss, if she represents God. David James Vaughan (1825-1905) nineteenth century theologian explains that according to the “ancient divines”, the shepherd in the first parable represents Jesus, the Seeker-Savior for the lost; the father in the third parable represents God the Father who welcomes home the once-lost who returns; the woman in the middle parable represents the church, home of God’s Holy Spirit who convicts lost souls, unaware that they are lost. This thesis makes the story of the lost coin easier to understand.

It is universally accepted that in Bible symbols, the woman stands for the church. If the church is guided by God’s Spirit, it becomes effective in identifying lostness in the congregation, and by extension, in each member. The coin represents the soul which may lose or regain its godliness, according to its lack of, or its wholehearted surrender to, the power of God’s Spirit within the church. Therefore, the church symbolized by the woman, represents the character of God as significantly as does the shepherd and the father.

Three Steps to Finding the Lost Coin

The loss of the coin may have happened gradually. For example, the thread attaching it to the woman’s headscarf may have become loose. The coin may have fallen, landed softly on the floor rug or on the dirt, and been moved around in the room, before she noticed that it was missing.

Just so, the character values of church members may have been lost gradually, or been simply underdeveloped. The integrity, the sensitive conscience, the positive attitude toward godly manhood and womanhood may all come up short—be lost, so to speak—in a soul that is unaware.

The steps to finding the lost coin are clearly outlined in the first verse of the parable (Luke 15:8). "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?" Application is as essential for the congregation as for the individual.

(1) Light the Lamp

Baptist minister, Charles Stanford (1823-1886) tells the story of a little girl in the Isle of Wight who watched the sunlight streaking through the window as her mother swept the cottage floor. "Mother,” she called, “Pull the blind down, the sunshine makes the room so dusty."

The effect of spiritual light entering a darkened soul is that it exposes the dusty destructive vices, facilitates the freedom of the soul from destructive habits, and makes clearer the way to godly living. “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105). Finding the lost coin requires paying attention to God’s instructions and following in its lighted path.

Finding the lost coin requires following God's lighted path.

Finding the lost coin requires following God's lighted path.

(2) Sweep the House

“To ‘sweep the house’ can be nothing else than to use all available means for discovering the possible good that lies hidden or seemingly lost” (Ellicott’s Commentary). It means lifting up the rug, moving the furniture, getting rid of the clutter. It is a cleansing as complete as is humanly possible.

The evident “works of the flesh” (Galatians 5:19) will be all swept away, giving way to cleanliness in thoughts, attitude, speech, conduct, media choices, even health habits. “For in the house of the righteous there is much treasure,” including the redeemed silver coin.

(3) Search Carefully

Search by introspection, shining the light from the lamp on every intention and every desire. Search again and again just in case you missed it hidden inside or under an opaque item. Search in places you don’t expect to find it, since it is not in any of the places where you expected it to be. Search until you find it, because your life here and hereafter depends on finding it.

Like the Psalmist (139: 23, 24 NKJV), implore God's Spirit, and mean it sincerely:

"Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting."

Redemption of the soul, symbolized by the coin, will be as complete and satisfying as the redemption of the lost sheep by a caring shepherd and a lost son by a loving father. The search by the woman, symbolized by the church, will be as rewarding and glorifying to God as is the search of the shepherd and the father. All the celebrations will be equally joyful.

References

Stanford, Charles: A Priceless Gem, Bible Hub Sermon on Luke 15:8-10, Copyright 2004 - 2022 by Bible Hub

Vaughn, David James: A Woman's Loss, Bible Hub Sermon on Luke 15:8-10, Copyright 2004 - 2022 by Bible Hub


© 2022 Dora Weithers

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