For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.
My First Loss
When I was a little boy, about four years old, we moved to a new town. We lived in a nice neighborhood with some not so honest boys. My grandmother had given me a small toy wind-up mechanical steam shovel. It was very nicely made of die-cast metal painted orange and black. It was from West-Germany. When we first moved in, our driveway was not paved yet. I would play with it there. I could wind it up and it would scoop up a little dirt, lift it up and then dump it.
One of my earliest memories of that house is me standing in the driveway, having looked everywhere for it, realizing that it was gone. I was too young to even know what stealing was. When the sudden realization hit me that it was gone for good, I just stood there and cried. It was just a material thing, but I had lost it. That was the first time I ever felt a sense of loss.
So when we speak of being lost and found in a spiritual sense, what do we mean?
Well simply, lost is the state of being without God. And found is the state of being with God. So the crux of this is separation. We are separated from God.
If you get to a quiet place and have a tranquil moment. Do you feel the sense of separation that comes from the loss of relationship with God? It may be a frightening pain.
We are born lost. Our sin nature separates us from God. We are apart. God desires for us to find him. He comes looking for us. In Luke 15: 6 he compares us to a single lost sheep for whom He leaves the whole rest of the flock to go find. And when he finds us, he rejoices.
He will not compel us to be found or be saved from our sin against our will. Free will is what makes our love for God genuine. He will not remove our choice. But he earnestly seeks us with his Spirit. Similarly, He helps us not wander, but He will not prevent us from doing so. Once we are found, we really should want to stay found. So how do we stay found?