I’ve loved bicycles ever since I was a kid. They’re fun, low maintenance, they serve a purpose, and there’s a bicycle for every terrain and season. I used to beg my parents to take me to the bike store just to take a look (and of course the looking always turned to wanting a new bike). After 40+ years, the desire to visit bike shops remains.
Early this spring I purchased a fitness/hybrid bicycle that would be practical for city living as well as getting some exercise. It had a cool paint job and was built to withstand the elements of daily commutes. The best part: airless tires made of solid yet cushy rubber that couldn’t get a flat. No air pump necessary. Shattered glass or nails on your path? No problem.
The bike performed as expected and I loved exploring the city, commuting, and exercising with this new toy until one very sad evening… Upon returning from a nice meal with a good friend, my new two-wheeler that was previously secured was gone. All that was left was a cut lock.
It was at the train station, in a bike parking area, right out in the open, lots of people, and a lock. How? I was devastated.
Everywhere I go in the city, every bike rack, every bike passing by, my eyes are searching. Even after many weeks I keep thinking it will turn up, just keep looking.
After several emails and phone calls to various shops seeking a replacement, there are none available. There are similar versions but the more I think about it, the more I just want my bike back. I don’t really want a new bike, I want that one.
These thoughts lead me to the various parables of lost and found, and how God so badly wants us, our hearts, individually to turn to him or turn back to him. He longs for us to return, he gives us each day to make the choice. Like Jennifer said yesterday, God wants us… “That is why he made us in the first place.”
Today’s reading in Luke 15 has “lost and found” parables. Each one I believe describes God’s characteristics relating to the way he seeks us and rejoices when we repent, and return to him:
- Lost sheep: Even though there are 100, he still seeks the single sheep who is lost and rejoices upon the return. “And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. (Luke 15:5)
- Lost coin: Seeking relentlessly until it is found and then rejoicing (Luke 15:8-10)
- Prodigal son:
- The father noticed him from a long way off (reflecting God’s anticipation). The father felt compassion and embraced him. (Luke 15:20)
- Upon confession, the father did not punish him (mercy), and more, the father gave him the best robe, a ring and shoes… gifts the son did not deserve (grace). (v22)
- And of course celebration in verse 23. God makes it loud and clear that he celebrates when we return to him!
- Promises of his goodness, now and forever: And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. (Luke 15:31)
God’s welcoming arms are ready waiting for us to repent. Let us take this moment right now to confess what he already knows to be true. I usually start by asking God to show me how I’ve been selfish. Selfishness for me is the gateway to all sin as it puts us before God and others. Selfishness sometimes feeds earthly desires but only for a moment, and earthly pleasures cannot satisfy the continuous thirst that we have for something greater, the thirst that can only be quenched by Jesus Christ.
13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again.[b] The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:13-14)
I wish I could tell our readers that my bike was found. In the end I wonder if God allowed this event to happen in order to give me a glimpse into his kingdom. My want for the bike and for the other things of this world will never go away until being satisfied by the living water of Jesus. Are you thirsty?