Have you ever found yourself digging through the trash looking for something precious when there you are, up to your elbows in banana peels and dirty napkins, and God speaks a word to you? Not really? All alone out here? Well, listen in to what I heard Him say when I was doing just that.
Hi, I’m Alexis Busetti. Welcome to That Makes Total Sense! This is the podcast where we talk about faith, finance and everyday life in a way that makes total sense and today I want to offer up to you guys a teaching. This is something that God really just downloaded to my spirit this last week and I have been praying and I hope that it ministers to your hearts and to your spirits like it did to me this week.
So I want to start with a short passage of scripture from Luke. This is actually from Luke Chapter 15 and it’s verses 8 through 10. And this is Jesus talking and He says, “Or what woman, having 10 silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it. And when she finds it, she calls together her friends and neighbors saying, rejoice with me for I have found the coin that I had lost! Just so, I tell you there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
Now these few verses, this short story, is housed like I said in Luke 15. But it’s sandwiched between two more familiar stories. They’re a little bit more popular. We quote them more, these other two parables. But all three of these tellings are in direct response to the Pharisees and the scribes when they were grumbling about Jesus. And what they were saying about Him was He is a man who, and this is the quote from the ESV, “who receives sinners and eats with them.” And I just originally thought – Oh my goodness, what madness! Like he receives sinners and eats with them! And we know Jesus as that man, as that God now. But this was extremely disruptive to the way of life that was happening in Jerusalem and within that culture at that time. And so they were beside themselves. This is a man who receives sinners and eats with them. And so in direct response to that, instead of getting mad right back at them instead of grumbling in return, He tells these three stories back to back to back. And I believe He was trying to introduce love and compassion into the situation and really into their hearts.
So the first and third of these illustrations are really familiar. We learned about them if we grew up in church and went to Sunday school, we sing popular worship songs about the first illustration. And the third one is really made its way into our own popular and secular vernacular. So the first story He tells is about a man who, and again this is familiar, having 100 sheep, this man would leave the fold of 99 to go and find the one who lost its way. And he would carry that last one home again on his shoulder celebrating. And asking the ones who despise him for this meeting with the tax collectors and sinners – He says, who among you wouldn’t do the same thing even for your sheep? He says that this is, this is who we are. This is who I am specifically.
The third example that He gives – remember the second one is the woman with the coins – but the third example is a little bit closer to home I think. I think it’s a little bit more personal because sometimes we can put ourselves in the place of one of these three main characters. And that’s the one of the story of the prodigal son. Where in that parable, Jesus puts God the Father in the place of the pacing, praying, waiting, gentle father who’s waiting for his wayward son to come home.
But what about the story in between? The one about the woman with the lost silver coin. I’m going to speak for myself when I say that her featured parable usually gets lost in the pages of my Bible or in this space on my Bible app. I mean, she’s there, and God’s specifically reminded me of her this week.
So this is what happened – I don’t travel that much. I’m a wife. I’m a mom of four little kids and we travel some on family vacation, but I surely don’t usually go anywhere solo, just me. But in the last several weeks I’ve had two trips back to back. The first one was completely unexpected. My very, very amazing sweet grandmother passed away and went to be with the Lord and her sickness came unexpectedly for us as a family. And so there I was out of state, away from my own family for almost a week. Then after we had said our goodbyes and had the funeral, then I came home and pretty quickly after that I went on a planned trip. So I got packed again and I was getting ready to head out. I was flying this time to spend a few days with my incredible sister-in-law and her family because I was going to try and be helpful because she is going through chemotherapy treatments. So I was there for one of her rounds of therapy to try and be helpful to her and her family.
So since like I said, I’m not necessarily a regular jet setter, I was looking for hacks to make my packing and travel a little bit easier. And one of the tips I found for traveling with jewelry, necklaces specifically, is this tip said to keep necklaces from getting tangled, use some of that Glad Press ‘n’ Seal wrap and put the necklaces between the sheets folded up. So that you know, they won’t get tangled. So you guys know this stuff I’m talking about, right? It’s not like Saran wrap, like the plastic, it’s kind of a little bit sticky and it kind of folds together and it’ll stay. And I just thought this tip is genius! So I knew we had some in the kitchen. So I packed up a couple of my small gold necklaces and I headed out.
The trip was great! But when I got home, my luggage kind of lingered for a few days.
I don’t know if it does that at your house, but you know, between back to school stuff and laundry and appointments, the unpacking was just slow. So finally a few days after I got home, I got to the bottom of my carry on bag and there were just a few more things left to pull out, including my necklaces, still sandwiched completely untangled, thanks to the Press ‘n’ Seal wrap. I mean it worked! It was crazy. It was awesome! So even though I hadn’t ended up wearing them on the trip, I knew I probably would in the next couple of days, so I just placed them – still in their wraps mind you – on the top of my dresser.
So it was probably the next afternoon I went to grab one of them and slip it on and they were both gone! Like completely gone! And I kind of freaked out. I’m just going to be honest, I mostly freaked out, kind of like the woman in the story with the coins, right?
But she was the furthest thing from my mind at this moment. If I’m being completely honest, I was not thinking about her or scripture really at all. So I called my husband Seth because I seem to remember him “purging,” I mean cleaning the night before, which I’m so grateful. But still I was a bit nervous. So I called him and I asked him to work really hard and try really hard to remember. I was trying to be super calm and in control. And so I’m saying, “did you happen to throw out two of my gold necklaces?” I mean this is an absurd question. Like who would throw away gold necklaces?!? But in the same breath I’m saying, “you know, they were inside some of that Glad Press ‘n’ Seal wrap and I put them on the dresser. And you may not have recognized. And did you, and do you remember and do you think you did?” And He of course is thinking – why would I throw away gold necklaces? I don’t think I did that. I don’t remember doing that... And I’m like, okay, thank you. Goodbye.
Because at the same time, we’re trying to run out the door to get one of my girls to the dentist’s office. So I did the only logical thing I could think to do – and I went and grabbed the trash bag from outside and I brought it inside and put it by the front door in the entryway! I know that’s pretty gross, but I didn’t really know what else to do at the time. I was just so thankful that the outside trash had not been picked up yet. And I went out the front door on the way to the dentist with the plan to meticulously gut that trash bag when we got home. So the dentist goes great, we get home, I make smoothies for the crew because they were requested by the little girl with this sore mouth. And then I went straight to work on these trash bags.
So I took the first one back outside and I started going through every piece of garbage in it, like banana peels and old used dinner napkins and you name it, it was in there but no necklaces. And then suddenly I heard God speaking straight to my heart and He started telling me about the woman with the coins. It was obscure and kind of fuzzy, but I seemed to remember the story. And then I heard Him say to my heart, I do this for you. So I was trying to hear Him, but honestly I was still pretty distracted with my search for the necklaces. So I kept on looking. I go through the first bag, they’re not there. So I moved on to the current kitchen trash more of the same, I’ll let you use your imagination.
But this is where I found them. On the very, very bottom, safe and sound still in their wraps. So after I texted pictures to Seth and let him know I found them. And after the excitement had worn off, I started looking for those verses that I seem to remember God reminding me of – the ones with the woman.
And they felt kind of familiar and kind of obscure at the same time. Like it was kind of fuzzy. So anyway, even despite what I knew I had heard Him say about how he does this same thing for me, this very same search, somehow I was still kind of convinced that the passage I was looking for was going to be about searching and finding the Kingdom of God. So you may know these passages. So these passages about the Kingdom of heaven, I mean even one of them just actually came up this morning, as happenstance, in my devotional with my kids. And this particular one was about the man who was digging in a certain field and found a chest full of valuable treasure. So he buries the chest again and then he goes and sells everything that he has and he comes back and buys the field with the buried chest in it so that he now rightfully owns the field and the chest and the contents. And the Bible tells us that this is a good analogy about us finding the Kingdom of Heaven and how valuable it is. And it’s a great story, but it was not the personal story that God wanted to share with me that day earlier this week, and I think it’s not actually the one that he wants to share with you today. In the Kingdom of heaven stories, we’re the ones who do the searching in the finding, but in the story with the shepherd and the a hundred sheep and in the story with the prodigal son and in the story with the woman and the 10 coins, it’s God who does the searching and the finding and His prize is us! The valuable thing is you and me! The reason for the party is our return! This is crazy. Romans 5:8 tells us that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. He dug through the trash just to get to us. He said, we were weak, unable to help ourselves, and at the right time he died for us. Who are the us? The Bible says the us is the ungodly. He says it would be something special for someone to die for a good man or for a righteous person, but it’s really unheard of for someone to die for a sinner, much less God doing the dying, but that’s how His love speaks. That’s how much He loves us. I dug through that garbage looking for the valuables I was sure I would find and it was pretty gross. But God isn’t grossed out by us or by the filth that surrounds us sometimes. He just wants us to come home again. And I wholeheartedly believe that this applies to unbelievers and believers at the same time.
I think sometimes when I’ve taken passages like the one in Romans, I’ve thought that they meant that God will fish me out, you know, of the garbage or whatever unto salvation, but once I’m saved, I better not get myself into a mess again. That just so you know, that is called self-righteousness and it’s not biblical and it’s a whole other can of worms. Probably another topic for another day, but for now, let’s just suffice to say that I believe God came, I believe Jesus died to rescue us from our muck – unbelievers and believers alike. Jesus said He came for the lost sheep of Israel and the sick ones who needed a physician, speaking of course of Himself as a physician.
He ate with the tax collectors. He socialized with prostitutes. Which is exactly what He told these stories in response to. In response to the uproar at this kind of talk and this kind of behavior. But God doesn’t wear gloves. You guys, He is in our mess. And even when Peter, one of his closest friends and followers on the earth, denied him three times and he cusses someone out at even the mention that he might know Jesus. When Peter has gone back to his old life of fishing, Jesus, God Himself, cooked breakfast for Peter and declared his servant leadership over this thing that he was building that we now know as the church.
God isn’t scared of our mess. He digs through the garbage for us. We are His treasure. I know it sounds crazy, but we are. One of the places we find evidence of this, that we are, His prize is in Hebrews chapter 12 verses one through two. This of course immediately follows Hebrews 11 obviously, which is what many people call the hall of faith. And it’s a list of people, people, sinners, just like you and me, who acted out their faith and belief that God was who He said He was. So right after we get through reading about all of these amazing people who had this great faith like Abraham and Moses and Rahab and Sarah, Hebrews 12 chapters one and two says this, “Therefore, since we’re surrounded by so such a great cloud of witnesses,” which Aka is the people who he was just talking about in the previous chapter, among others, “let us also lay aside every weight and sin which cleans so closely and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us looking to Jesus, the founder and protector of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him,” that is for us and his relationship with us, “for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross despising the shame and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” We are included in the joy that was set before Him when He endured the cross. Now Jesus through his death, burial and resurrection accomplished a whole host of things. Again, another set of teachings for another day, but part of what He accomplished, part of that joy set before Him, His prize, His treasure was and is us.
Now get this. This is also crazy. I just think God was so amazing to me when I looked down at the necklaces, they were sealed and immediately I thought of Ephesians. When God had my mind in the right place, He just really took me to some amazing places to show me His love and I want to share that with you. But those necklaces were sealed, and I’m telling you, we are sealed as well! I cannot tell you how thankful I was for that Press ‘n’ Seal wrap, not just that they were untangled when I got to them, but they were clean. They had been sealed and they were untainted by the trash that had become their new environment for those hours. And Paul says the Holy Spirit does that for us. In Ephesians Chapter one 11 through 14, Paul says, “In Him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will so that we who are the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory in Him. You also,” you and me, “when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation and believed in Him were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it to the praise of his glory.” That means that all throughout our lives on earth, God has sealed us with the Holy Spirit. We live inside of Him and He lives inside of us and He is also the deposit or the guarantee, as this version says, from God that we will actually receive our full inheritance as sons and daughters when we enter the kingdom. And I know that we’ve, we’ve heard this and I actually feel like we’re pretty comfortable with it. Like we’re God’s sons and daughters and we will receive inheritance as, you know, the daughters and sons of the King. And I think that we’re mostly comfortable with that idea, which is great. God has an inheritance waiting for us.
But what about what we were just talking about previously? That we are God’s prize, that we are His valuable treasure. We are his inheritance. Even Deuteronomy 4:20 says this, it says this of us and of God, “but the Lord has taken you and brought you out of the iron furnace, out of Egypt, to be a people of his own inheritance as you are this day.” We are God’s inheritance and, who if you received an inheritance, whether it was heirloom jewelry or the deed to a property, or at check, wouldn’t search high and low if it was lost? Of course we would! And my question is, how much more would God? How much more does He search after you? How much more does He come after you? His prize, His treasure, His inheritance. And when He finds you, when you step back into His house, He instantly says, He instantly goes to the angels waiting on standby to throw the most lavish party heaven has ever seen. And He does it every time, for every one of us. Just like that verse says with the woman with the silver coins.
So thank you again so much for listening. Don’t forget to subscribe so you won’t miss an episode! Share the link with your friends. You can visit us at thatmakestotalsense.com and until next time, this is Alexis Busetti, remembering to do well for ourselves so we can do good for others.