The Parable Of The Lost Coin


We’re going to look at Luke 15:8-10 where we find the parable of “The lost coin.” This parable is closely related to ‘The parable of the lost sheep’,  Luke 15:3-7. But it’s also closely related to “The parable of the lost son” which is found in Luke 15:11-32.

All three parables go together and that’s because they all come from the same source. In other words, the parables are told to the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who were condemning Jesus for associating with sinners, Luke 15:1-2. And so what Jesus is doing in all three parables is explaining why He associates with such people.

“Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbours 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.” Luke 15:8-10

The coin in question here is a silver drachma, which by our standards is worth very little. But during Jesus’ time, this was worth a lot, it was equivalent to just over a day’s wage.

So now we can understand why this woman was so desperate to find the lost coin, it meant the difference between eating and starving.

And in those days like some people in the world today, most people lived very much on the edge of things. And we see that in Matthew 20:1-16 when Jesus talked about “The parable of the vineyard workers.”

When all the men stood at the marketplace all day long, waiting for the opportunity to work, very little stood between them living and starving.

That’s why Jesus says at the end of Luke 15:8 that the woman, “swept the house and searched carefully until she found it.” In other words, she turned the house upside down because whether or not she found it, would determine whether or not her family would eat.

Remember that Jesus is talking about His relationship with sinners and tax collectors. I want to share with you a couple of points about this parable, to help you understand it possibly in a way that you’ve never thought about before.

1. How was the coin lost?

There’s no arguing that the woman herself lost the coin. Maybe it was through stupidity, through carelessness or even neglect. In either case, the woman was responsible, it was her own fault that the coin was lost.

So we can’t blame the coin, because the coin was lost through no direct fault of its own. And unlike the sheep which we looked at last time, which strayed and became lost through its own stupidity, Luke 15:3-7, the coin was completely passive. In other words, the coin being lost was someone else’s responsibility.

And the point of the story is that the coin couldn’t save itself, it could do nothing to save itself. And again unlike the sheep, Luke 15:3-7, the coin couldn’t wander back.

It couldn’t shout out to the woman that it was lost, and when you think about it, it’s a coin, it wouldn’t even realise it was lost.

But the point I’m trying to make is that all the searching had to be done by someone else. God in the human form of Jesus The Christ came on a search and rescue mission, Luke 19:10.

He came to search for that which was lost and bring them to salvation. And that includes us, that includes every single human being on this planet that’s willing to let Him save them, Titus 2:11.

2. How are people lost?

It would be very easy to go off the mark with this parable and make applications that can’t be made. But every person who is lost, is lost because of their own sin, but remember that the coin is passive, people aren’t.

No person is lost just because of the sin of someone else. In other words, you’re responsible for your own sins, you can’t go blaming others for your sin, Ezekiel 18:1-4.

The question is what kind of influence do you have on others?

The influence we have on other people can determine where they spend eternity.

Do you realise the power you have to influence people?

Titus tells us how we can influence other saints in the church and those who oppose our teachings, Titus 2:7-8.

And again Paul reminds us that it’s the church that’s to do the influencing not the world, Ephesians 4:17-19.

In other words, our Christian lifestyles, teachings and beliefs should be the very things that influence the people around us, but we shouldn’t let it happen the other way around.

What did Jesus say about you and salt? Matthew 5:13 “You are the salt of the earth.” You’re not the salt of your church building, you’re not the salt of your house.

You know when you look in a salt dish, what do you see? Ah, salt you may say, well what I see when I look around at some Christians, is salt, enjoying the company of the same salt.

But Jesus says, you’re not the salt in a salt dish, you’re the salt of the earth, now go and season and influence the people in your world with that salt. Mix with the ungodly salt and influence it until it becomes godly salt.

The word “yeast” used in Bible terms often relates to evil influence, Matthew 16:6. But the point I’m trying to get across is that people can influence people. And as Christians, we should influence people for the good but we need to be on our guard against the world influencing us with evil.

And that can come in many different forms, it can come in the form of false teaching. It can come in the form of a lack of church attendance, where it’s not important for you to come to worship regularly.

It can come in the form of a tired attitude towards sin. Because if your influence helps someone to decide to become a Christian, they’re just going to follow your example.

They won’t think that the Bible is important if you don’t think it’s important. They won’t think it’s important to come to worship to meet with other Christians if you don’t think it’s important to come to worship and be with other Christians.

They won’t think it’s all that important to give up some sin in their lives if you don’t think it’s important to give up the sin which is in your life.

But the question is who is influencing whom? When you let the world influence your religion, your religion becomes worthless. Just like the coin in the parable, when a coin is lost, it becomes worthless.

When a coin goes out of circulation it still has its basic worth. In other words, 5 pence lost is still worth 5 pence, and 10 pence lost is still worth 10 pence.

But any coin that’s out of circulation being unused is worthless. Money is only good when it’s used when it’s circulated. And what Jesus is teaching us here is that He could see that people could wear the name God and could live the will of God, but yet they were lost to God. Their soul is still worth more than the whole world, but their souls aren’t given to God, they’re lost, Romans 1:18-21.

People are lost and they’re not even bothered about it, and why aren’t they bothered? Because they don’t even recognise they’re lost. A woman loses one coin, so what, what’s a coin? The world says, “forget it, it’s just a coin.”

The Scribes and Pharisees thought that way about sinners. Why be bothered, the lowly, the outcast and the poor, why bother?

A coin may be just a coin and some people may care less but coins have more than their monetary value. Such as this coin was to its owner, she got a lamp and lit it and searched the whole house to find, that which was lost.

How keen are we at searching for the lost in the same manner?

Most of us are quite willing to search for a worship place. In other words, we’re quite happy to wait until some lost soul comes to us here in the building on a Sunday morning.

But what about outside, what about the other 6 days of the week?

Jesus didn’t say, the preacher is the light of the world, He said, in Matthew 5:14 “You are, we all are the light of the world.” And we don’t need to share the Gospel with the world in one go.

We don’t need to wait until there are 3 or 4 or even 100 people around us. We need to share the Gospel with people one at a time.

We need to plant the seed one at a time in the hearts of people outside this building, 1 Peter 4:10. And as God gives us an opportunity we will water it, then God will cause the seed to grow and then He will add to our number. And when God does add to our number, it’s a time to rejoice.

When the woman found her lost coin, she was overwhelmed with joy, Luke 15:9, finding that lost coin was more important to her than the other 9 coins she didn’t lose. Why?

Because they were already safe, she knew exactly where they were, they were in her possession. God loves us and cares for us and gives us grace and peace and eternal life.

But nothing makes Him and His heavenly hosts happier than someone who turns their back on their sinful lifestyle and turns toward God for a godly one, Luke 15:10. Just like when the shepherd brings home the lost sheep, heaven rejoices, Luke 15:3-7.

When people were baptised we rejoiced with them, but let me tell you this, heaven rejoiced more. That’s what happens when you decide to follow Jesus, thousands upon thousands of angels gather in joyful assembly, Hebrews 12:22. Why?

Because when sinners repent of their ways and want to follow God’s ways, that’s worth celebrating.

When sinners say, ‘not my will be done, but His will be done’, that’s worth celebrating. Let me encourage you if you’re not a Christian, to talk to someone today about what it means to be a Christian. And let me encourage you to seriously think about becoming a follower of Christ.

Because of your decision to follow Christ, you can give the saints all over the world and in heaven a reason to rejoice with you.