When I was young and impressionable, I was often taken advantage of by other kids who knew the rules, like “Finders keepers, losers weepers.” Woe be unto me if I lost something and one of my useless friends found it. “Finders keepers, losers weepers!” That didn’t work when I found something, because the loser was usually bigger than me!
Right around Valentine’s Day, I lost my wedding ring. It slips off easily in the winter when my fingers contract, and I noticed it missing when I arrived home from work, after stopping for gas. I immediately returned to that pump and looked around, then went into the Wawa to see if anyone had turned it in. I searched my car, driveway, lawn, gloves, pockets, closet, cubicle—everywhere. Subsequently, whenever I bought gas, I walked around that pump. I checked the Lost Articles section of the newspaper every day, and even called a couple people who had found rings. I asked around at work for a metal detector. I refused to believe it was gone forever.
The ring has little monetary value, but significant sentimental value to me. I wondered if anyone who found it would’ve turned it in to me or turned it into cash. Some things are more valuable than money.
In Luke chapter 15, Jesus tells three parables about lost items: the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost (or prodigal) son. In each case, the “loser” has plenty of sheep or coins or family, but still places significant value on the lost article—so much so that diligent search is made to find it. When the item is found, there is great rejoicing, that spills over to the friends and neighbors and even the angels in heaven. At that moment, the one lost sheep, cent, or soul was worth more than the remaining many.
Later, in Luke 19, Jesus meets and eats with a tax collector. When upbraided by the self-righteous onlookers, he said, “(T)he Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost” (v. 10). This, in a biblical nutshell, was why Christ came into this world.
There are a lot more valuable things in life that can be lost than wedding rings. When Jesus was explaining the cost of discipleship to the crowds, he said, “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26, NKJV). In other words, there is nothing more valuable to God than the human soul, and there is no price that can be paid to buy it back from sin.
The only price God would accept to redeem the souls of men was the death of His Son in our place. “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect” (1 Peter 1:18, 19). Religious rituals and heritage, good deeds and intentions, gold and silver, cannot persuade God to forgive our sins. It’s a seller’s market; His asking price must be paid in full. Thankfully, Christ paid that price so we don’t have to.
God didn’t lose us by accident or misplace us because He is the great cosmic absent-minded professor. All of us have chosen to walk away from Him, just like the Prodigal Son or wandering sheep (Isaiah 53:6). However, He continues to watch for us, ready to welcome us back to the family and adorn us in the finest and cleanest apparel.
One of the great paradoxes of the faith is that we can find great gain by suffering loss. Jesus told the disciples not to fear their enemies, but to be willing to give up all for him: “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 10:39). No “Losers weepers” here!
However, there is a loss that causes great and everlasting weeping. The person who refuses to be reconciled to God will lose His presence and goodness forever. Christ told those who trusted in themselves, “There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out” (Luke 13:28). “Losers weepers.”
“Finders keepers.” Once you confess your sin and turn to Jesus as Lord and Savior, he promises to hold on to your soul forever: “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out” (John 6:37, NKJV).
By the way, on April 28th, I heard what I thought was a zipper or button rattling around in the clothes dryer. Guess what it was? “Finders keepers.”
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