“Acceptable loss” is a military term many are familiar with. The idea is that there are some losses in any military endeavor, but that every mission has a level of loss that is acceptable, based on the risk undertaken and the goal to be achieved.
Luke chapter 15 contains a trio of stories about people who have lost things. If you are a mathematician, you might hear these stories and consider the percentages. A man has a 100 sheep, he loses one. That’s a one percent loss! That seems quite acceptable. A woman has ten coins and loses one—still only a ten percent loss, and really quite acceptable. A man has two sons, and loses one. A 50 percent loss, granted, but one that might be overcome in time.
But Jesus was not a mathematician or an accountant. He never considered percentages of “lost-ness." He considered people. And in these stories about searching for lost things, Jesus was saying that sinners are very, very valuable to Him. Sinners count with Jesus. There is no acceptable percentage of loss when it comes to the Son of God and sinners. He is not willing that even one “lost sheep” should perish. I wonder how different our world would be if you and I adopted Jesus’ view of “acceptable loss?”
Or what woman, if she has ten silver coins and loses one coin, does not... search carefully until she finds it (Luke 15:8)?
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