During the reign of Oliver Cromwell, the British government began to run low on silver for coins. Cromwell sent his men on an investigation of the local cathedrals to see if they could find any precious metals there. After the investigation they reported: “The only silver we could find is in the statues of the saints standing in the corners.” Cromwell replied, “Good we’ll melt down the saints and put them into circulation!”
Do we as saints today need to be put into circulation? In Luke 15:8-10 Jesus tells the parable of a woman who lost a coin. One Bible Scholar explains, “In Jesus’ time, unmarried women wore head bands to hold their scarves in place. A scarf could be pulled over the face if modesty was required or pulled back up over the hair if work was being done. The headband of an unmarried woman had nine coins, part of the woman’s dowry. At the time of marriage, a tenth coin was stitched to the band. This was a sign to the world that the woman was married. A woman who “lost a coin” had, in essence, lost her identity as a married woman.” Now if a woman’s husband died, these coins would be valuable for the woman to help support herself financially.
In the case of the parable, the woman lost one of her coins; the coin was not lost through its own mistake but probably by the woman’s neglect. For whatever reasons, the coin was lost, it was out of circulation and was not being used for anything, just sitting in a dusty corner somewhere.
Sometimes people are lost like this coin; they get neglected, maybe it is because of age, handicap, a move to a new city, or many other reasons. When people are out of circulation, they offer no service to anyone. They cannot be used for good or for God’s glory.
Jesus’ point in telling this parable is that we need to search and seek for those people who have been neglected. We must remember that each human being is made in the image of God; they have value and need the gospel of Jesus Christ.
We as Christians must pay attention and care for people. Jesus does not want us to be blind to people as the Pharisees were, but search for the lost as this woman searched for her lost coin.
Do you know someone who is a lost coin? The college student who doesn’t have friends and is searching for meaning and purpose in life. What about the person who visited worship services, who wants to know more about the Bible? What about the person who is homebound and never receives a visit? Or the person who has lost their job, and hope and has turned to drugs and alcohol?
These are just the few of the many lost coins in our society. We as Saints need to get into “circulation” so the lost coins will be found. Will we look for those who are lost and bring them to the Lord as the woman looked for her lost coin?
Mark T. Tonkery
Camden Avenue church of Christ