The knot in my stomach would not go away. Every time I thought about it, the pain only got worse. Maybe I could try to forget it. But how could I forget? It was a priceless and irreplaceable gift. It was Matthew’s sheriff vest that Nanny made from Papa’s deer skin. He had worn it non-stop for two short weeks. Now it was lost. The pain deepened.
I mentally calculated its cost, but nothing could account for the real value. Nanny and Papa gave of themselves-that made Matthew’s vest priceless and irreplaceable. Now it was lost! The sad knot in my stomach tightened.
When something of great value is lost, we look for it. We turned the house upside down. We looked in every drawer, under every bed, lifted every couch cushion. We even looked in Jake’s dog house. We called relatives. But the vest was not to be found.
The day came to leave Albuquerque and return home. Grief characterized the days ahead.
One year later, we were back in Albuquerque for Christmas. We shopped for the kids before returning to Mexico. We returned to the “Nice as New” children’s clothing store. We recognized the owner, Genevieve. She also recognized us and asked, “Weren’t you in here last year about this time?” We were a little surprised, but with our “gaggle” of four, we are hard to miss. After several minutes, Genevieve continued, “Don’t you have a son named Matthew?” We were astonished at her memory. We continued to shop. Finally Genevieve confessed, “Do you know how I remembered Matthew’s name?” She added, “He left something in here last year.” Our hearts stopped. Matthew had left his vest in the store, with the sheriff badge inscribed, “Matthew”. That’s how she knew his name. She had found the vest!
We were exuberant, until her face saddened as she told us she had safeguarded the vest for months, but had recently sold it to a customer.
We were heartbroken. We shared with Genevieve the story behind Matthew’s vest and of its value to us. She called the customer to ask if she’d be willing to return the vest. No one answered, but she left a message. We told her we would pay anything to get it back.
The next day, Genevieve called to inform us that we could come by to pick up the vest!
When something that was lost is found again, everyone rejoices. We were so excited; we called everyone. Matthew called Nanny and Papa to tell them, “We found my lost vest!” Isn’t it the same when it comes to faith in God? When one of us has lost the way and returns home, there is much rejoicing.
Sometimes others are not aware of the real value. The customer who bought Matthew’s vest at the second-hand store did not know its real value. As the original owners, we would have paid anything to get the vest back. We loved it and knew its value. It is the same with God and me. I am made by God and belong to Him. I am of great value. All of us are.
God loves me and knows my real value. That is why He paid such a high price to get me back. He paid the price of His one and only Son. “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
I am valuable to God. Even though I was lost and separated from Him, and I’ve done things to offend Him, He came looking for me. I am of great value, and He wants me to return to a personal relationship with Him.
I need to make it personal. I knew about God from going to church as a kid, but it was not until my freshman year in college that I made that faith personal. I learned that prayer was not magic words I repeated, but an attitude of my heart. The attitude I expressed was:
God, I need you. Thank you that You love me. I know I have drifted away from you and lost my way. Thank you for the high price you paid to get me back. Thank you for forgiving my sins when you died on the cross and rose from the dead. I trust you and want to come back home. Thank you for hearing my prayer and for helping me become the person You want me to be. Amen.
Have you ever lost something?
How did you feel? What did you learn?
Did you ever find it?