Ellen G. White Writings

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Australasian Union Conference Record

July 1, 1900

The Lost Piece of Silver

“What woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house; and seek diligently till she find it?”

In the East the houses of the poor usually consisted of but one room, often windowless and dark. The room was rarely swept, and a piece of money falling on the floor would be speedily covered by the dust and rubbish. In order that it might be found, even in the daytime, a candle must be lighted, and the house must be swept diligently.

The wife's marriage portion usually consisted of pieces of money, which she carefully preserved as her most cherished possession, to be transmitted to her own daughters. The loss of one of these pieces would be regarded as a serious calamity, and its recovery would cause great rejoicing, in which the neighboring women would readily share. “When she hath found it,” Christ said, “she calleth her friends and her neighbors together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost. Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.”

The lost coin represents those who are lost in trespasses and sins, but who have no sense of their condition. They are estranged from God, but they know it not. Their souls are in peril, but they are unconscious and unconcerned. In this parable Christ teaches that even those who are indifferent to the claims of God, are the objects of His pitying love. They are to be sought for, that they may be brought back to God.

The piece of silver was lost in the house. It was close at hand, yet it could be recovered only by diligent search.

This parable has a lesson for families. In the household there is often great carelessness concerning the souls of its members. Among their number may be one who is estranged from God; but how little anxiety is felt lest, in the family relationship, there be lost one of God's entrusted gifts.

The coin, though lying among the dust and rubbish, is a piece of silver still. Its owner seeks it because it is of value. So every soul, however degraded by sin, is in God's sight accounted precious. As the coin bears the image and superscription of the reigning power, so man at his creation bore the image and superscription of God; and though now marred and dim through the influence of sin, traces of this inscription remain upon every soul. God desires to recover that soul, and to retrace upon it His own image in righteousness and holiness.

The woman in the parable searches diligently for her lost coin. She lights the candle and sweeps the house. She removes everything that might obstruct her search. Though only one piece is lost, she will not cease her efforts until that piece is found. So in the family, if one member is lost to God, every means should be used for his recovery. On the part of all the others, let there be diligent, careful self-examination. Let the life-practice be investigated. See it there is not some mistake, some error in management, by which that soul is confirmed in impenitence.

If there is in the family one child who is unconscious of his sinful state, parents should not rest. Let the candle be lighted. Search the word of God, and by its light let everything in the home be diligently examined, to see why this child is lost. Let parents search their own hearts, examine their habits and practices. Children are the heritage of the Lord, and we are answerable to Him for our management of His property.

There are fathers and mothers who long to labor in some foreign mission field; there are many who are active in Christian work outside the home, while their own children are strangers to Christ and His love. The work of winning their children for Christ many parents trust to the minister or the Sabbath-school teacher; but in doing this they are neglecting their own highest privilege and most sacred responsibility. What human heart can feel for the children a love deeper or more tender than that of the father or the mother? Who is so well acquainted with their needs and their dangers? Who is so well fitted to point the children to Christ as their sin-pardoning Saviour? This is the work to which God has appointed them.

With their own hearts warm with the love of Christ, let parents speak to their children of His love. Let them work and pray for these souls for whom Christ has died.

The lesson of persevering faith and labor Christ himself has taught us. In the parable of the lost sheep He has presented to our imagination no picture of a sorrowful shepherd returning without the sheep. The shepherd's search ceases not until the lost is brought back to the fold. The woman whose coin is lost searches till she finds it. These parables do not speak of failure but of success and joy in the recovery of the lost. Here is the divine guarantee that not one lost soul is overlooked, not one is left unsuccored. With all our efforts in seeking for the lost, Christ will co-operate. Then with love and faith and prayer, let parents work for their households, until with joy they can come to God saying, “Behold, I and the children whom the Lord hath given me.”

Mrs. E. G. White

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