I thought today about when I was a child, and when my mother took my sister and myself to the Fox Theater in Atlanta, Georgia to see the Academy Award winning Walt Disney Production titled “Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day”. As I remember it, poor Winnie spent a good portion of the film bearing up against the forces of nature on what he termed “Winds-day”. And if memory serves me correctly, a fair portion of Pooh's eventful day was spent chasing valuable objects that were being wafted off by the strong breeze! Which brings me to my point…
My wife and I decided to dedicate this evening to giving our lawn its first cutting and grooming of the season. Thus, this afternoon, I ran down to the local station to get gas for the lawnmower, weed-eater, blower, etc... As I finished, I replaced all the caps and set the cans in the truck. I then turned to retrieve my receipt.
(Let me interject here that I am a stickler for proper record keeping. For this reason, I fastidiously retrieve every single receipt and properly file them for future reference if ever needed.)
However, as the dispenser produced the receipt, and as I reached to retrieve it, the wind intervened. My receipt flew off in wind and was halfway across the parking lot before I even had a chance to react. When I finally did grasp what had just happened, I caught a glimpse of my receipt just as it blended in with quite a few other pieces of paper that looked just like it – likely other receipts from earlier in the day!
But I was determined to retrieve what I valued. With little or no thought, I was off. Leaving behind my truck, my gas cans, my other concerns, I dashed off after the flotilla of paper swirling across the parking lot and, by then, even out into and across the adjacent street. In retrospect, it must have been quite comical. There I was, dashing here and there, first retrieving this sheet of paper, then that one, quickly scanning each in turn, before moving on to the next.
The first time, I was not successful. Nor the second. Nor even the third. But eventually, I did succeed. By perseverance, I found my receipt. I knew it was mine because it was for the amount I had just purchased and it had my time and date and identifying numbers.
Needless, to say, I was quite happy. I rejoiced as I made my way back to my truck. That which had been mine; that which was the result of my purchase and which validated the price I had paid; that which I highly valued; but also that which had been lost to me; that I had now found! And I was exultant.
As I drove home, I could not help but think of the three stories Jesus once told, as recorded in the fifteenth chapter of Luke’s New Testament Gospel. (You can read them here: http://biblehub.com/niv/luke/15.htm.) Each of them, that of a lost sheep, that of a lost coin, and that of a lost son, all drive home the point that we are what God values above all else. And even though we were lost to Him, He would not rest until He had found us! And when He did find us, He rejoiced greatly because we had been lost, but then we had been found!
As the great English poet and Anglican clergyman John Newton put it in his classic 1779 hymn, “Amazing Grace”:
Amazing grace! (how sweet the sound),
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
To this, no doubt, all who have been lost and saved rightfully say, "Amen!"