For those of you who love your mobile phones, you will be excited to know that the iphone 11 has just been released. If you wish to buy it you will have to have deep pockets, it comes in at an eye watering £759. Like all new phones it has extra gadgets. Instead of having one lens it now has 3 lenses, enabling you take pictures far away and close up. The makers tell us that people usually use their phones most of all to take pictures. The irony of that seems lost on them, phones are most of all used to not make calls or send messages but to take pictures. Other gadgets – it has the fastest chip in any mobile phone. It has five hours more battery life than its predecessor – that certainly will be handy. But a strange one is that is water resistant to up to 4 meters for 30 minutes. Although I can imagine dropping the phone in the bath. I can’t quite think that I would dive inti the deep end if the pool and suddenly discover that I have my phone with me.
Coming in at the princely sum of £759 and with all these flashy new things you wouldn’t want to lose your new phone. In fact one of the greatest fears that people have now days is losing their phone. It has become an essential part of their life. There is often a blind panic when someone can’t locate their phone, bigger than losing your keys even your wallet and cards. Things can be replaced, cards, money, keys but not your phone with its contacts, its pictures, its diary and worst of all the thought that someone might be phoning you at that moment and can’t get in contact with you.
There is now a recognised phobia that people have called nomophobia. It’s the anxiety or fear of losing your phone - a recent study of 547 undergraduates 23% were suffering from anxiety related to their phone and 64% were in danger of suffering from it and 77% checked their phones over 35 times.
Losing things is what we hear of in the Gospel. Not a costly phone but a sheep. Jesus poses a question to those who are listening to him, the situation might not have been lost on them. Someone has a hundred sheep, one wanders off and is lost in the desert. What do you do? Do you go off after the single sheep, put the other sheep in danger or do you cut your losses? Do you risk the 99 for the one?
The point of the story clearly is that the one sheep is as important as the 99. The shepherd risks everything to recover his lost sheep. In the end there is sheer joy that thing that is lost is found.
Modern man knows that feeling of losing something and wanting to find it. When a phone is found at the bottom of a bag or on the table where your left or returned to you by a stranger who finds it, is there not a sense of relief, even joy that something important has been found again.
At the heart of the Christian message is this theme of the thing that is lost is found. The person lost is found. The soul lost is saved and redeemed. That which has strayed is brought back. That God seeks out that which seems most of all lost.
We often given up on that which is lost. What’s lost is lost, we say. We won’t get the thing back again, no use crying over it. But the story is a profound reminder that God doesn’t give up. God doesn’t lose hope. God never stops searching, calling and seeking out that which is lost.
We give up on the young boy who is out of control. The teacher gives us on the child who doesn’t learn We give up on the alcoholic or drug addict. We give up on the person in prison. We give up on that person who never seems happy. We give up on that person who is difficult. They are lost to us. God, however, never gives up, never cuts his losses. He is never happy with having the 99 and nit having the one is lost. He searches, looks and finds and rejoices when he is found that which is lost.
It tells us if the kind of love that God has – a strong love. He came that none should be lost but all should be saved. He came to save the lost sheep, to find the lost coin, to win back the prodigal son. He came that none should be lost but all should be saved.
I have got my phone, although in the course of the day I lose it ten times. You might be wondering where your phone is, I am sure its in your pocket, or left behind at home - don’t worry I am sure you will find it.
But there are much more important things in life that can be lost. But God will not allow these to remain lost, no-one is lost. He sent his on to search out that which was lost.