Lost and Found : A Christmas Message : God VALUEs people
Have you lost anything recently? Your wallet? Your keys probably? Your watch? Glasses, if you use them? How about smartphones? That is a most commonly lost item. How about your passwords? In a digital age, it becomes more important than any other item isn’t it? Railway stations and Airports have special places and processes to store and return lost property. Losing something is very common. And it is traumatic, isn’t it? Nobody likes to lose something. That is why there is a Start-up eco system developing out there where there are solutions to locate lost items. There are many digital gadgets and apps available that will help us to locate our lost items. This is becoming a good business for start-ups.
But let us try and find out answers to two questions about Lost items. First question is when do we consider an item lost? Some of you are saying “Duh”.. isn’t it obvious? When I can’t find it anymore. When it is not with me and I don’t know where it is etc.. All good explanations. Well! For sake of clarity let us try to define “lost”. Would you agree with me if I say that the simplest way of defining Lost is “When something is separated from its owner?”
The second question is when do we go looking for a lost item? We don’t do it always isn’t it? There are certain things which we do not go look for, even when they are lost. So what makes us go looking for something that is lost. The key word here is Value. We will look and see if we can find an item if there is a substantial value attached to it.
VALUE. Let us peel it a little bit more. What could VALUE mean in the context of a lost item? First letter V stands for Valuable. This is the most obvious part of VALUE. How much did it cost us. Is the item that we have lost is valuable to us? We might have paid a huge price for the item. The replacement of the item might also be expensive. Smartphones these days are not cheap and hence if we lose a smartphone, it is a huge loss. So if the item has some value attached to it we will make the effort to go look for it. The second letter is A, which stands for Attachment. If we are attached to the lost item in some way, we will certainly go out looking for it. It might be a cherished memory, it might be gift from some special person, it could be the first thing that we purchased out of our own money. Whatever the reason is, if there is an attachment to the item, we will make an effort to look for and find the lost item. The third letter L stands for Love. If the lost item is a loved item, we will make effort to look for it. The forth letter U stands for Useful or utility vale of the item. How useful was the item to you? I am at an age where I cannot read without my glasses, so if I lose my glasses, I will certainly go crazy and would want to find it as soon as possible. For some , it could even be lifesaving, like for an Asthma patient the inhaler is an absolutely useful item and if we lose that, we will go all out to try and find it. The fifth and last letter of VALUE is E and it stands for Emotional. If we have any emotions attached with an item, we are sure to make all efforts to look for it. This is similar to the Attachment that we saw earlier. There are items where we get very emotionally attached to, and we would hate to lose such an item. In the movie 102 Not Out, the character played by Rishi Kapur clings on to an old blanket because of the emotional attachment that he has with the item. So that is VALUE for us. An item that is Valuable, that we have some Attachment to, that we Love, that is very Useful to us or has a high Utility value and finally an item that we are Emotional about. So if an item has the capital VALUE, we will make all efforts to find and retrieve the item.
So we have established two things. Lost can be defined as “separated from the rightful owner” and we make an effort to seek an find the lost if the item has a VALUE in our life.
Till now, we have been talking about inanimate things. Let us get a little more serious now. Let us talk about human beings, people, you and me. Do we feel lost? Have you ever felt completely lost? Lost without hope? Lost without love? Lost thinking that you are worthless? Lost in the busyness of the word? Even if you have not found yourselves in that position, have you seen someone who is in that condition?
So what makes people Lost? Studies show that it is a combination of many things. Sometimes it is our own creation, but sometimes it is caused by external forces. There are four specific categories that makes human beings lost. First, it could result from our own actions, or “What we do”. We do something wrong, we commit a sin, we feel guilty. Or something we attempted failed. All these could make us feel lost. The second category is our thoughts. Sometimes we are unable to get the past out of our minds. Worse still sometimes, we put ourselves down so much that we ourselves see no value in us. This is self-abasement. I am a worm, I am nothing , I am not useful to anyone mentality. Sometimes it is the opposite, sometimes we can feel lost if we always want to be perfect, and we are stressed out because of slight imperfections in our achievements and our work output. The third reason for us to feel lost is How we relate with others. If our approach is fearful, if we are constantly afraid of rejection or failure etc, we will feel lost. If we are constantly seeking approval from others, we will feel lost when we do not get that sometimes. If we constantly feel obliged to some one or the other, and we find ourselves unable to meet such huge obligations, we are sure to find ourselves lost. The last reason is external or How we let others control us. This could be the unnecessary rules and regulations, it could even be religion, or the Gurus we give undue importance to in our lives. There is one common binding reason above all of these four and it is called Ego. That could also make us feel utterly lost.
So getting back to the definition of “Lost”, i.e., being separated from the owner, looking from a spiritual perspective, we are most likely to feel lost when we are separated from God, who is our creator. This is what Ego does to us. It Edges God Out of our lives. So if we have felt lost, if we know of someone who is feeling lost, I would encourage you to ask the question, have we Edged God Out of our lives and is our Lost feeling a result of that? If you have a more basic question of Why bring God into it, I will come to that in a few minutes.
So let us get back to the second aspect of “Lost”. The second question we examined. When does someone make an effort to seek and find the lost item. We established that it is when the Lost item has VALUE. So, let us ask the question, does someone VALUE lost People?
Going back to the concept of VALUE as an acronym, the first letter stands for Valuable. Are lost people Valuable to anyone?. The answer is yes. The God of the Bible says that they are “Precious and honoured in my eyes” You see God considers you as precious, and hence He will make all efforts to seek an find you in you are lost. Is anyone Attached to Lost people? The God of the Bible again says “But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, And He who formed you: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. (Isa 43:1 NKJV) Because I am God, your personal God, The Holy of Israel, your Savior. I paid a huge price for you: (Isa 43:3 MSG). The message is clear, our God is very very attached to each and every one of us and hence He would not leave us when we are Lost. He will come looking for us to seek and save us. The third part of VALUE is Love. Does God love us? The God of the Bible says “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.” (Jer 31:3 NKJV). God confirms His everlasting love, not temporary Love, not a love that is based on what we do or how we please Him, but an everlasting love. Yes, God Loves us and hence we can be assured that He will come looking for us when we are lost. Are the Lost people Useful to anyone? The God of the Bible says that they are. “I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.” (Rom 8:38-39 MSG). The Bible says that because of Jesus Christ, there is nothing that can separate us from the love of God. Does anyone get Emotional about lost people. The God of the Bible says that He is very emotional about people. “Can a mother forget the infant at her breast, walk away from the baby she bore? But even if mothers forget, I’d never forget you—never. Look, I’ve written your names on the backs of my hands.” (Isa 49:15-16 MSG). God’s emotions about people are stronger than a mothers’. Hence He will not spare any effort to seek and find us when we are lost.
So the message that runs through the Bible is very clear. God VALUEs people. And hence when People are Lost God will come to find us. He will not let us stay Lost. He is concerned about lost people.
And that is where Christmas comes in. That is the significance of Christmas. Christmas is the absolute, necessary and sufficient proof that God VALUEs people. He knows that some of us are lost and He sees the need for a search and rescue mission. And God VALUEd the people so much that He did not delegate the search and rescue mission to someone else. He sent Jesus Christ, who is none other than the only Begotten Son of God for the Search and rescue mission. The Bible puts it very simply. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16”. Yes. Christmas is the search and rescue mission of God through Jesus Christ. Jesus himself declares it in the Bible. “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” (Luke 19:10 ESV)
Dear Friends. That is the Christmas Message. God came down as a small child. He was called Emmanuel, which means “God with us”. “The Word Became Flesh and dwelt among us”. That is Christmas for you and me.
So let us celebrate Christmas. Let us celebrate a God who VALUEs people to such an extent that He was willing the send His only Son to seek ad save those of us who are lost. Let us celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the Emmanuel, God with Us.
A Merry Christmas to all of you.