Meditations by John Dean

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Roman Coin

(Luke 15:8, 9 NASV) “Or what woman, if she has ten silver coins and loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin which I had lost!’

Of all the interesting lessons in this parable, the one that seems to be among the top for me is the lesson on unity. The number ten represents wholeness, which means that when one part of the ten is missing then the whole is devalued. I realize that Jesus was talking about the joy over one lost soul being found and restored, but I think He was also speaking about the value of unity as well.

The reason this parable is so rich is because it shows that being alone (like the lost coin) had a direct effect on all the other coins. In other words the greatest value of the one coin is when it is part of the nine coins, and the greatest value of the nine coins is when they are part of the one coin. What affects one affects all.

We see this principle played out with Joshua and the Children of Israel. They were fighting battles and winning all of them until one man (Achan) disobeyed God by stealing. Because of Achan’s independent act (when he was supposed to be a part of a team), everyone else was affected and they lost the battle at Ai. In other words Achan’s independent act cost him, his family, and all of Israel.

There is no doubt that the lost coin had value within itself, but it had a different kind of value when it was with the other nine coins and that is why the woman had a party with her friends when she found the coin.

Several years ago I was in Bulgaria ministering on a mission trip. One day I went downtown to an open-air market (kind of like a flea market) where folks had tables stacked with everything imaginable.

I strolled through the market stopping occasionally and looking at things. As I was about to leave the market that day I stopped at one last table and started shifting things around on the table when I suddenly spotted what I believed to be an old Roman coin. I was intrigued by it so I paid two or three dollars for it. I brought it home, put it on a shelf and forgot about it.

However, the other day I started thinking about that Roman coin so I went and got it out of the curio cabinet and began to wonder if it had any real value. It took me a long time searching the web to find that exact coin. To my surprise I found it had great value.

Upon discovering the true value of the Roman coin, Karen and I were no longer willing to keep it in the curio cabinet. Anything that valuable needed to be kept in the safe...which is where we put it. The thing that made the difference as to where the coin was kept was its newly discovered value.

Had my coin not been separated from other coins of such value it would have never have been discovered under some worthless items on a flea market table in Bulgaria. It would have been protected in someone’s coin collection, because it was minted in 100 BC.

Perhaps this is why the woman in our text put forth such effort in searching for her lost coin, because its true value could never have been appreciated while it was lost.

Help us to abide in and enjoy our value by being in unity with those in our family, our friends, our team and all the people You put in our lives. You gave us the model of a true team as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

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