Jesus taught in parables to teach us about God, His kingdom, and ourselves. He takes common, everyday images and puts them alongside God and the values of His Kingdom. In the two parables of Luke 15:1-10, Jesus picks a woman who does not demonstrate fiscal responsibility, and a shepherd who cannot keep track of his sheep. Odd. These are not flattering comparisons.
No one likes to lose anything or anyone. Perhaps you can relate to the Pharisees to whom our Lord tells these parables. They never lost anything. They had their lives put together and knew where all the pieces were. We have a little bit of Pharisee in each of us. Perhaps you can relate to the shepherd who lost his sheep or the woman who lost her coin. ‘Losing’ is what defines them; sometimes it defines us, too.
But the thing about parables is that they do not always provide a clean one-to-one comparison. Sometimes there’s even a bit of mystery. Are we to compare ourselves with the one who seeks or that which is lost? Where do we fit? It is hard to say, which is a lot like life itself.
Our Lord told us these parables to remind us of who we are in the eyes of God and who others are in the eyes of God. He told them to teach us that the reason He came was to reveal to us our value and worth, and to reveal to us the love of God, which seeks to welcome the lost and sinners’ home.