Rev Gareth Burke, Stranmillis Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Belfast
For the past two weeks I have been waiting for a parcel to arrive from the United States. The parcel contains some important teaching materials for use in the youth work in our church. I was somewhat late in placing the order and was becoming anxious about when the package was going to arrive as quite a few of our youth leaders were needing the resources.
The company in the USA from whom the materials had been purchased were very helpful. They set up an excellent tracking facility so that I could see exactly where the parcel had got to. On Thursday morning it arrived!
Great was the excitement in our house when the doorbell went, and the much-awaited parcel was delivered. The poor parcel delivery man looked somewhat baffled by the high level of excitement and appreciation!
However, my excitement over the safe arrival of a much-awaited package from America is nothing in comparison to the excitement that we read about in Luke’s Gospel Chapter 15. There we are told about a woman who lost a very special coin.
She had ten silver coins and when counting them one day she realised that one of them was lost. We don’t know a great deal about these coins, but we think it likely that they could have been given to her by her husband on the occasion of their betrothal.
They would probably have been set into an ornamental headband. To lose one of them would be similar to losing a diamond out of your engagement ring. The woman began to thoroughly search her house to see if she could find the lost coin and, when she did, great was the excitement. She called in her friends and neighbours and laid on a party.
But Jesus goes on to speak about even greater excitement. He says that there is ‘rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents’ (Luke 15:10). This is the greatest joy that there can be. This is joy in heaven. What causes this joy? Men and women, lost in sin, recognising that they are lost, turning from their sin and believing in Jesus as their Saviour and Lord. Nothing compares to this. Repentance excites the angels in heaven!