Pause for Thought – a five minute read – Week 12

Luke 15 v 8 – 10

Has Anyone seen My Keys?

Have you ever lost something and you know that it is in the house, somewhere, but you can’t find it? The situation grows into such a crisis that you can’t think of anything else, it interrupts your sleep, and becomes the only priority in life. Your search starts off as a structured logistical undertaking and finishes up as an illogical desperate grasping at straws, panic.

It happened to me recently. I rent a small stable on a farm round the corner from where I live and I store bits of old tractors and old farming implements there, nothing of great value but of interest. I bought a padlock for the door and the lock came with four keys. One key stayed with the farmer in case of emergency, one key was attached to my car keys, one key was attached to my house keys and one key was attached to its own key fob and hung on a hook inside a cupboard door in the kitchen.

Recently a friend was to deliver something to the stable for me, so I took the key from inside the cupboard door for him to use. As it happened I was at the farm when he arrived so the key was not needed.

A week later I opened the cupboard door and noticed that the hook, that usually held the stable key, was empty. Where was the key? I had a mental picture of the key hanging on the hook but no mental picture of where the key could be now. I asked myself the usual question,’ Where did I see the key last?’ It’s a silly question really because if I knew the answer to that I would know where the key is now so I was not helping myself at all.

So I started to look in the obvious places. First a quick telephone call to my friend to ask if he still had the key, but he pointed out that he never had the key as I opened the door. No luck there then, I would have to look elsewhere. I decided to start with the car, I must have left it in the glove box, but there was no sign of the keys in the glove box or anywhere else in the car. Perhaps the keys had dropped inside the cupboard, so I emptied the cupboard but no sign of the keys. I could try the bedroom; the keys could be on the dressing table when I emptied my pockets, but no sign of them in the bedroom room. The key must have dropped down the side of the cushions on the settee or the chairs so I search all the items of furniture but to no avail. I even move all the furniture to see if the illusive key was behind but only dust was apparent which I vacuumed up.

I thought which trousers I was wearing on that day, could the key be in one of the pockets? Not much hope because I had washed those trousers and would have noticed if the key had been there. I distinctly remember that the washing machine was making a strange noise at the time.

I was running out of ideas but I had not tried the stable, perhaps I left them there and locked up with the key on my car keys. So it was a matter of, get the car out and drive to the farm, but again there was no luck and no sign of the keys.

I know what you are thinking; I still have three more keys so why am I getting so worked up about this one key? It’s a matter of principle, losing something no matter what it is, makes it a big issue and has to be resolved.

By now I am at the illogical grasping at straws stage and actually look in the fridge in case, in a senior moment I had put the key in there by mistake.  Thankfully I am not that senior yet and the key was not in the fridge.

The only benefit of all this searching is that, the car, the kitchen cupboard, the carpet, the settee and chairs have all been cleaned and tidied, but the elusive key still avoids discovery.

Now we move on to the following Monday. I don’t know why Monday tends to always be washing day, it probably goes back to my childhood when mum always did washing on a Monday along with cold roast beef left over from Sunday for dinner.

As I was about to load the washing into the machine I decided to try to establish why it was making a strange noise last time it was used, and on inspecting the  inside of the drum, to my surprise, rattling around was a shiny key attached to a now distorted plastic key fob. I assume the key was in the back pocket of the trousers I had previously washed.

I was delighted for two reasons, I had found the key, and the washing machine had ceased to make strange noises.

In Luke 15 v 8 the woman has ten coins and loses one. She searches and sweeps all day and into the night using a lamp, to find the lost coin and when she finds it she celebrates, but the story is symbolic and has nothing to do with money.

I think the woman represents the Holy Spirit seeking with the Gospel (lamp) for the lost souls.

The nine coins represent the unrepentant whereas the lost coin represents the one who confesses that they are a sinner and out of touch with God. It is interesting that this parable is preceded by the lost sheep, the difference being that the sheep wondered away by its own volition, whereas the coin is an inanimate object suggesting the lifeless condition of the sinner being dead to sin.

When the Holy Spirit finds the lost soul and brings it to God, then there is great celebration as life returns to the sinner. That is how it is with God, the sinners who humble themselves and confess their sins, bring joy to the heart of God. Well its time that I went back to the stable and tidied up the mess that I left after searching for the key. If only I could find my car keys, I’m sure I left them in the kitchen.

Derek T.