Rejoice with me
My friend was trying to explain something her husband said — to make it sound better. “He didn’t mean it like he said it,” she said. “He said it like he meant it.”
You figure it out.
The Scripture tells us “a word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver” (Proverbs 25:11). The good thing about vocalizing is that inflections are used which can amplify the meaning intended.
The greatest teacher Jesus used words “fitly spoken.” (So fitting, they were like precise spokes of a wheel maintaining its perfect shape.) He taught by parables which related to the people he was teaching. The writers of the New Testament gave us His Words for this time with the meaning intact.
In Luke 15, Jesus told three parables to show the value of a soul:
A woman lost a piece of silver — one of 10 pieces. It could very well have been one of the number she was saving to make her headdress designating her as married or it could have been her dowry. It could have been owed on a debt or maybe the grocery money for the next month. At any rate, the loss was obviously a hardship.
She got her broom, lighted a candle and began to sweep the dirt floor of her house. And when it was found, guess what. She called her friends and neighbors together and said, “Rejoice with me.”
The shepherd kept watch over his 100 sheep diligently, but somehow one of them wandered off. Personally responsible for every sheep, a shepherd would risk his life for the sheep. As the sheep filed into the sheepfold, each was counted — 95, 96, 97, 98, 99 — one was missing. There were supposed to be 100. So the shepherd went after the lost one. Why not let it go? Why would a shepherd go at his own risk? After all, it was only one sheep.
But Luke 15:4 tells us that he searched until he found it, and then he laid it on his shoulders, rejoicing. As he came home, he called together his friends and neighbors — it was an occasion for rejoicing because “I have found my sheep which was lost.”
Jesus told the people, “... likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance” (Luke 15:7).
Heard the story of the prodigal son? (Note: The word, “prodigal” is not in the Bible – our label or description.) Being the younger of the sons, he would only inherit one-third of his father’s estate. No doubt, he thought getting his inheritance early would give him an edge on living and escape the drudgery of responsibility.
So he accepted his share, and proceeded to spend and spend — riotous living it was called in Luke 15:16 — until finally, broke and broken, he ended up feeding swine, a no-no for Jews.
It was hitting bottom that brought him up short to the fact that even his father’s servants had better than he. How could he know that God was dealing with his heart to “go home?” The decision was made — “I will arise and go to my father.” And when he arrived back home, there was rejoicing.
Only the older son was not glad to see the wayward son.
But how precious is every soul in the sight of God? And this love is evident in the actions of every child of God — there is rejoicing, not grudging acceptance; unforgiving, not “I told you so.”
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