The Parable of the Lost Billfold

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Dad and I got up early Thanksgiving morning to go to the woods. We saw a few whitetails, but no shooters. After the day’s hunt, we stopped by a local gas station for a cup of coffee to warm us up from the chill.

The drive home took nearly an hour. About halfway through the trip, I decided that I had to take off some of my heavy clothes. I still had on all of my hunting apparel…insulated underwear, hooded sweatshirt, wool coat, coveralls, camouflage jacket, and two pairs of socks. Okay, so I overdressed; who likes to be cold in the woods? I pulled over in a local church parking lot and shed most of those sweltering layers.

The next morning we decided to give it a try again. Dad and I went through our usual pre-hunt preparations and started loading up the jeep. We had everything we needed — except my billfold. I have a habit of placing my billfold in a special place at home, but it wasn’t there.

The two of us turned the jeep up-side-down. We looked under the seats. We checked the house five times. We woke my family up at 4:30 a.m. and enlisted their help in the frantic search. This was my billfold! It had my driver’s license, bank numbers, insurance cards, social security info, debit card, hunting license, important phone numbers, etc.

The only two places I could think where possibly I had lost the billfold was either back at the gas station, or perhaps back in the parking lot when I was disrobing the morning before. Had I accidentally dropped it there?

We hastily made our way over to the church parking lot. The drive seemed like it took forever. I was afraid to look, but more afraid not to look. I whispered a brief prayer, “Please Lord.” There it was — the black billfold lying on the blacktop driveway. It had been there for nearly a day. Hundreds of cars had passed by, but no was observant enough to see it. I quickly called my wife and shared the good news. “We found it!” I announced.

Stay with me for just a moment.

In Luke 15 Jesus tells the story of a woman who had lost a silver drachma. The coin was worth about the same as a denarius, which was a full day’s wages for common labor (cf. Matthew 20:2).

She scoured her house for the missing money. Who wouldn’t go looking for a day’s wages? But there’s more to the story. When a Jewish girl married, she began to wear a ten-piece garland around her head to signify that she was now a wife. Think of it as an ancient version of our modern wedding ring.

Note the words the Lord employs to describe her search: light, sweep, and seek (v. 8). Notice too that she “diligently” (NKJV) sought after the coin. Ladies, how hard would you look for your diamond wedding band?

When she finally found it, she shared the happy news with her friends and neighbors. Jesus’ audience could identify with the woman’s feelings. Many of them, no doubt, knew what it was like to lose something of great value as well as the raw emotion of finding it again.

But the Lord really wasn’t talking about a lost coin. His parable highlighted the elation of reclaiming a lost soul. Every individual is precious to him (Luke 9:25; 2 Peter 3:9). Likewise, every individual should be precious to his people, entrusted as they are with the message of reconciliation (Romans 5:10; 2 Corinthians 5:18, 20).

Finding a lost object like a billfold or a coin is a relief and joy. Saving a lost soul for eternity starts a party in heaven (Luke 15:10).

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