I wonder how long the woman would have kept sweeping if her house was bigger. If she had a million square feet to search through for her one silver coin rather than a small one-room, first-century widow-income home. Because my car key is lost somewhere in the million square-foot hospital building and I’m not willing to sweep the whole thing. After walking through the units I visited and the stairwells I climbed and the halls I walked, I’m giving up and calling for the spare key.
I feel bad, of course, and I hope that it will show up somewhere, somehow. But there are options for me.
The woman in the story Jesus told didn’t have options. The coin was one of ten. They were, according to the story, what she had, her whole retirement, her whole savings.
She searched without ceasing. The longer she searched, the more it consumed her whole attention. Her whole purpose. Her whole identity.
She was the coin-seeker. Just as her parable-predecessor was the sheep-seeker. And just as her parable-follower was the son-celebrator.
Jesus told these stories about the response of heaven to the finding of the lost one.
I’m giving up. If I never find this key, I can get another one. And another Planet Fitness fob. But the shepherd ignored the other sheep to hunt for the one, because each one mattered. The woman hunted for the coin because each one mattered. The father longed for the son because each one mattered. The storyteller died and came back to life because each one mattered.. No one is expendable. No one is too lost.
Each. One. Matters.