Daily Connector | The parable of the lost coin | Paul Knapke

Luke 15:8-10: “Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

Three days ago I finished a 2000-piece puzzle. Well that isn’t quite true. I could not actually finish the puzzle because it was missing a piece. Now this puzzle was not mine - it was loaned to me by my older sister. And I was surprised she loaned me this particular one because it was brand new. The box had not even been opened yet. I was the first to work on it. How could this new puzzle be missing a piece? And worse, it looks like I must have been the one who lost it!

I had vacuumed a few days before. I remembered changing the bag right around the time I got to that part of the house. The garbage truck had just come a few minutes before I ‘finished’ the puzzle, so if I sucked that piece up before I changed the bag, then it’s a goner. My mother-in-law was at our place that morning, watching in sympathetic amusement as I stressed out over that missing piece. If you’ve ever seen me when I am a little bit frantic about a situation, you know that I pace around talking about my frustration, hoping someone else will say, “Don’t worry. Here’s what you should do….”

I pulled the new bag out of the vacuum cleaner and peered through the little hole. Couldn’t see a thing. I took the bag down into the workroom, where the light is pretty good. There was enough light in the bag to see… ummm… lumps of dust, and nothing else. I collapsed the bag and felt it with my fingers.  I couldn’t feel a piece in there, either. I asked JoAnn if she would check it, too. She kindly did so, but no puzzle piece turned up.

Would I have to call my sister and admit that I lost a piece from her brand-new puzzle? As they say in the movies… Oh! The ignominy! (Well it depends on what kind of movies you watch, of course.) I took a photo of the almost completed puzzle, because I always take a photo when I am done. I also took a close-up of the section of the puzzle where the piece was missing. I printed that photo out and wrote a note on it so the next person to work this puzzle would know that it was missing a piece. I glumly disassembled the puzzle, put the pieces into the box, added my picture-note about the missing piece, and taped the box shut. My mother-in-law and my wife wondered aloud to each other whether I would sleep OK that night.

Three days passed by and I still occasionally tried to think of other places where the missing piece could be - check the chair cushions, look in the cracks under the baseboard trim, flip up the edge of the carpet, peek in the closets to see if it slid under a door, hmm….

This morning in the wee hours, I had a thought. When building a puzzle of this size, I usually run out of tabletop space and have to put the overflow pieces on some boards that I keep just for puzzle-building. Is there any way the piece could somehow be stuck to one of these?  First thing out of bed, I went straight to those boards. Sure enough, the piece was stuck to the underside of a board that had been used in a glue-up project and had still a little bit of adhesive on it.

Something like this has probably happened to you. Feel free to vicariously revel in the feelings of relief and good fortune, even joy that flowed over me then. I cut the tape on that puzzle box, pulled out my no-longer-needed note, threw the piece in, and taped the box back up. Whew!

Rejoice with me, I have found my sister’s lost puzzle piece!

Is that how God’s angels feel when a sinner repents?