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Chapter 2 - The Lost Drachma

“Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors 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 Greek drachma was a silver coin with a value equivalent to that of the Roman denarius. It was considered a good salary for a day's work.


It was customary in Palestine for a mother to give ten drachmas to her daughter as a dowry. She retained the dowry as a family treasure that would be passed on to her daughter at her wedding. And so it was that the same dowry was passed down from mother to daughter through generations. The women of that time wore above their eyebrows a tiara made of silver coins called a semedi. It indicated that the carrier was either engaged or married. If a coin were missing, the woman could be mistaken for a prostitute. The value of the coins was not monetary but sentimental. Its worth was above any amount they represented.


The loss of one of these coins was considered a serious calamity in the family. Therefore, all necessary sacrifices were made for the recovery of the lost drachma.


The houses of the lower class had no windows, so they were not illuminated except by a lamp. In those circumstances, to find something that was lost in the dust, it was necessary to light the lamp, sweep the whole house, and look for the object until it was found. It was indeed a long and painful work.


In my childhood, before electric light came to our house, we made use of the lantern, which consisted of a triangular kerosene deposit with a wick that, moistened with fuel, was lit and conveyed a dim light in the room. It was better to sleep than to depend on that precarious light to read or study something. In the time of Christ, the use of oil as fuel was common (see Matthew 25:1-8).


Blame for the loss of the coin was attributed to the mistress of the house. In the parable, the woman undertakes the quest by availing herself of all the resources available to recover the lost drachma.


This parable has two objective applications: it refers to people who are lost within the home and also to those who are lost within the church.


On one occasion, after delivering a sermon during the divine service, the preacher went to the door to greet the audience who left the chapel. When he returned to the pulpit to retrieve his books, the messenger found a lonely boy crying in the church. The pastor asked what was the matter. The boy replied, "Pastor, I'm lost." Strangely enough, his family had forgotten him at church. The preacher whispered to himself, "lost inside the church." This fact brings to mind the boy Jesus, only 12 years old, forgotten in the temple of Jerusalem by Joseph and Mary.


Being lost in the church or home environment is a complicated problem. One can attend worship services, fulfill their duties towards the church, be punctual for meetings, contribute to church maintenance, and still be lost because one does not know Jesus. According to all appearances, the person is a believer and fulfills his duties, yet because he is not in a relationship with Christ, he is undoubtedly lost. This was the case of Nicodemus, Saul, and many others. They believed they were children of Abraham, they did good works, they were teachers of religion, they held high positions within the church, but they were not converted. Everything they did was mere formality. In Saul's case, he was extremely zealous in defending Judaism against Christians and did not hesitate to commit barbarous crimes against the innocent followers of Christ. He believed he was doing God an excellent service. He was lost inside the church.


In the family, too, one or more children may appear to be Christians because they fulfill their parents' wishes by going to church, actively attending meetings, singing in some musical ensemble; however, because they do not know Jesus, they are also lost in the home.


Many parents show satisfaction with their child or youth because of their apparent religiosity, but they never speak to their children’s hearts about the saving grace of Christ. Maybe even the parents themselves are lost in the home.


On this point the American educator, Ellen G. White, commented:

"This parable has a lesson to 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 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, the 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," Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 194.


What do you do to bring family members to the Savior's feet? Just follow the steps followed by the woman who lost her drachma in her house: 1. Light the lamp;  2. Carefully and thoroughly sweep the entire house; 3. Look for the lost coin until you find it.


1. Lighting the Lamp

We need to open the Word of God, which is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path (Psalm 119:105), study it prayerfully to know Jesus and bring our family to the heart of our Lord. The lessons of the Word of God should not only be read or studied but also practiced.


2. Sweeping the house

The woman in the parable, after lighting the lamp, swept her whole house carefully and thoroughly, removing all the dust that possibly covered the drachma.


When lighting the lantern, seeking the Word of God with prayer and under the direction of Spirit of God, we will discover in the family everything that hinders the salvation of its members. All the rubbish and debris that obstructs the finding of the drachma must be decidedly removed. In many cases, parental behavior itself becomes a serious impediment to the conversion of children. Parents need to examine their own hearts to find if they are not the main obstacle in saving their children or young people. Of course, all this can only be accomplished by divine grace. No one has power in himself to carry out this indispensable reform in the home or in the church. Only Christ has the necessary power for this work, and He is more than willing to bestow it on His children.


Ellen G. White wrote:

"The enemy of souls will invent many things to lead the minds of our youth from firm faith in God to the idolatrous practices of the world. Let the cautions given to ancient Israel be carefully studied. Satan's efforts to spoil the thoughts and confuse the judgment are unceasing, and we must be on our guard. We must be careful to maintain our allegiance to God as His peculiar people...."


"We should endeavor to keep out of our homes every influence that is not productive of good. In this matter some parents have much to learn. To those who feel free to read story magazines and novels, I say: You are sowing seed, the harvest of which you will not care to gather. There is no spiritual strength to be gained from such reading. Rather it destroys the love for the pure truth of the Word. Through the agency of novels and story magazines Satan is working to fill with unreal and trivial thoughts the minds that should be diligently studying the Word of God. Thus he is robbing thousands upon thousands of the time and energy and self-discipline demanded by the stern problems of life," In Heavenly Places, p. 215.


Inappropriate use of media is currently corrupting the minds of millions of young people. Many videos watched today are loaded with immoral scenes and ideas and behaviors contrary to Christian ethics. Many books of philosophy, fiction, even religious fiction, are no more than serious obstacles to the salvation of young people. As soft drinks eliminate the pleasure of drinking pure water, the consumption of most videos and fiction books destroy the taste and desire to study the Word of God.


The same author continues:

"Let the youth be taught to give close study to the Word of God. Received into the soul, it will prove a mighty barricade against temptations. “Thy word,” the psalmist declares, “have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” “By the word of thy lips I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer,” (Psalm 119:11; 17:4).


"If the counsels of the Word of God are faithfully followed, the saving grace of Christ will be brought to our youth; for the children who are trained to love and obey God, and who yield themselves to the molding power of His Word, are the objects of God's special care and blessing," In Heavenly Places, p. 215.


3. Seek the drachma until you find it

Working for the salvation of the family is not limited to a time or place. Our whole life must be dedicated to the eternal salvation of those who are closest to us. We cannot set a time for this noble work. Many parents who have taken a serious interest in saving their children have in many cases died without seeing the outcome of their prayers and their appeals and efforts. Many children have been converted after the death of their parents. Therefore, we will not always have the joy of seeing our dear converts during our lifetime. But we must trust the promises of God.


On this effort, the previously cited writer, Ellen G. White, comments:

"The spirits of darkness will battle for the soul once under their dominion, but angels of God will contend for that soul with prevailing power. The Lord says, “Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captive delivered? ... Thus saith the Lord, Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered: for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children.” Isaiah 49:24, 25," The Desire of Ages, p. 259.


In this work, parents can count on divine intervention through the work of the Holy Spirit and the collaboration of the holy angels. Although the loss of the drachma is, in many cases, the result of paternal neglect, parents should not despair or discourage. Heaven is much more interested in saving our loved ones than even we are. As much as we seek the lost drachma, God is even more interested in the salvation of our loved ones who have gone astray.


Finally, the coin was found. Happy because her efforts were not in vain, the woman invites her friends and neighbors to a party to commemorate the recovery of the lost drachma.


Said the Savior: “In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents,” Luke 15:10. Imagine, reader, the joy that is manifested in heaven when a drachma—a child or youth—who was estranged from God is brought to the feet of Christ. Also, imagine the eternal joy that will be felt when you arrive in the heavenly home with all our family members! It is worth every effort and every sacrifice for the recovery of each drachma. Do you agree?


How much is a life worth? Ellen G. White ponders:

“The value of a soul, who can estimate? Would you know its worth, go to Gethsemane, and there watch with Christ through those hours of anguish, when He sweat as it were great drops of blood. Look upon the Saviour uplifted on the cross. Hear that despairing cry, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” Mark 15:34. Look upon the wounded head, the pierced side, the marred feet. Remember that Christ risked all. For our redemption, heaven itself was imperiled. At the foot of the cross, remembering that for one sinner Christ would have laid down His life, you may estimate the value of a soul,” Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 196.