The lost thing
Around 2000, the celebrated Australian author & illustrator Shaun Tan produced the wordless picture book The Lost Thing. The book chronicles the adventure of a boy collecting bottle tops on a beach who then discovers a mysterious, un-named lost thing on the beach.
The boy tries to find where, or to whom the thing belongs. Tan's rich and detailed illustrations drive the story, and the reader is drawn into the quest. This is in contrast to passers by and other players in the story, who seem indifferent to the plight of both boy and thing. We can all relate to the problem of getting sucked into someone else's quest or search for what they are after. Maybe we don't want to be. At other times we have our own project that is really important to us, yet others seem less than excited, and we can get offended. Luke 15 is entirely concerned with God's burning desire to find the lost ones among his children. Sheep, coins and offspring are employed as apt illustrations. The images are confronting, as we consider God's yearning that the lost might be found. Are we as excited as God is about those who are wandering broken in a far country? God in his grace enables us to eventually see that all of us are the lost thing sometimes. We think we have it all together perhaps, but we don't. Sometimes we are the ardent seeker, like the shepherd God. Sometimes we are the lost sheep, stuck in a Matagouri bush in a cold, windswept gully. Both modes can grow us in God. May we all know the experience of being found by God, enough to be the kind seeking shepherd for others when needed. Either way, I trust that you, the God-follower, will be drawn into God's story, putting aside indifference and understanding what it is to be both lost and found in God.