One of my roommates was laughing at me earlier today. I couldn’t find my cell phone. For the second time this week. Or maybe third.
I lose things. All the time. My phone, my wallet, my keys, watches, hair clasps, purses. But I usually find what I’ve lost. It may take a couple minutes (I’ve been late to class because of lost keys more often than I’d like to admit), days, or even weeks, but stuff usually shows up.
So, no doubt that the parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the prodigal son are among my favorites in the Bible. Studying them out, and reading EGW’s commentary in Christ’s Object Lessons in conjunction with the Bible have greatly impacted my understanding of God’s love for us as well as for our responsibility to others in the church and to God as our Father.
But the normal applications are not on my mind right now. It’s something regarding my most recent lost item.
For Thanksgiving I drove up to Princeton to visit Jo, my roommate from CAMPUS. We did our best to try and get some work done, but also spent time relaxing (which was much needed). After a weekend full of eating, shopping, eating, Jane Austen, eating, and a little work, it was time to go. As I got in my car on Sunday morning, I reached in my purse to pull out my iPod to plug into the car to listen to music on the long journey back down to Virginia. To my shock, it was not there. Jo and I looked through my whole car, my bags, her apartment, and it was no where to be found.
“How sad!” she exclaimed. But I kind of shrugged it off. “Yeah, that stinks, but oh well, what can I do?” I asked myself. But as I sat in traffic that day, limited to the radio or the few CDs in my car, I started getting bored and kept thinking, “I’ll listen to a new podcast” only to remember no iPod. But again, I’d dismiss it and say it was alright, it’s just an electronic gadget after all.
But by the middle of the week, I couldn’t deny it. I missed my iPod! No music to listen to on my walk to school. No calendar reminder. No easy way to check email without lugging around my computer. Why was I bothering with keeping a stiff upper lip? It was something I had invested in, and I valued, I used, but then I’d lost.
What I realized was this: how stupid is it to pretend like losing something that means something to you means nothing to you at all?
Jesus gave us the “lost” parables to learn about how much He values us and how He pursues us. But this experience made me realize something. Even though we were created in His image, God didn’t have to show that He valued us so much. He could have just let us keep on being lost forever. Acted like He didn’t care. But that’s not what He did. He wasn’t afraid to show the His how invested He was in us.
Not that I’m saying I need to be that invested in my iPod. But if anything, I’ve learned, let’s be real about what we value. If the value is wrongly placed, then that’s another issue to address. Not being honest about a bad value, though, won’t fix the problem, it’ll probably make it worse.
Oh, and the end of the story. Jo called me right before the end of the Sabbath. One of the elders found it in the Sabbath School room we were in last week. Turns out it must have fallen out of my bag in there somehow. I told you, things always show up. But let that be another lesson: if you are going to lose something, lose it in the church (see “This Man Receiveth Sinners” in Christ’s Object Lessons, the section about the lost piece of silver).