Posted by: deerharas | November 2, 2008

The Parable of the Lost Keys

You’ve heard them all.  There’s the parable of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son.  However, today, let me recount for you the parable of the lost keys.


There was a girl who had a set of keys.  These keys were beloved in they eyes of the girl, for in addition to getting her into her car, her cousin’s car, her apartment, the laundry room in her apartment, her mail box,  and her parent’s home in Texas, they also were fastened together by two favorite key chains.  One key chain was replaceable, yet expensive.  The other cost maybe a couple bucks, however the girl was pretty sure the keychain was no longer for sale.

One day, the girl lost the set of keys.  And while this was a quite a common occurrence for her, this time things were different.  The keys weren’t simply misplaced in her apartment.  They were lost … for real.  The girl looked high and low, retracing her steps from Jamba Juice, across the parking lot to Old Navy, and on a few stores over to Famous Footwear.  She searched dressing rooms, through piles of clothes, and in shoe boxes, all to no avail.  After probably an hour of searching, the girl gave up.  She left her name and phone number with each shop, hoping to someday be reunited with her precious set of keys.

But the parable doesn’t end there.  Thankfully the girl’s cousin had a spare key to her car.  However, on this particular day, the day that the girl lost her keys and thus access to transportation, the girl forgot her cell phone at home.  So not only was she stranded at Old Navy of all places, but she had no way of contacting her only hope for rescue.  Thankfully an Old Navy clerk allowed the girl use of their phone to call the two numbers she actually knew by heart (neither of which was her cousin’s).  The girl tried her mother’s cell phone first, but of course there was no answer.  Who answers their phone to a strange number upon first ring?  The girl then tried the number she’d known since she was a child, and fortunately her father answered.  Unfortunately, however, he did not have the number she needed to get in touch with her cousin.  He did have her aunt’s (and mother of her cousin) cell phone, which he was able to give the girl.  The girl then alternated between calling her aunt and her mother until finally her aunt answered and gave the girl the number she’d needed from the start.  Finally the girl got a hold of her cousin who promised to come quickly and bring the spare key.

But the parable doesn’t end there either!  With spare key in hand (and soon, the ignition), the girl began to drive home.  However, she quickly realized that were she to arrive home, she would have no way of getting into her apartment.  And her only hope of rescue then would be her roommate, who again, she had no way of contacting.  And this time there was no one to call who could give her the number.  Remembering her roommate was currently in German for Reading, the girl made her way to campus, thinking that she’d find the class and hopefully borrow the key from her roommate.  Putting her detective powers to use, the girl looked up the class online and found it met in Blanchard 223.  However, when the girl found the classroom, it was obviously the wrong class.  After poking her head in, she only saw two people who assured her it wasn’t in fact German for Reading.  So the girl gave up that search as well, and settled on sitting outside near her roommates car, hoping to catch her after class and before she left Wheaton for the evening.

For an hour the girl sat outside, enjoying the beautiful fall weather and gorgeous Illinois foliage, and she began to work on a blog retelling her adventurous afternoon.  Eventually her roommate showed, and the two drove to their apartment, inside of which the girl found her cell phone with eight missed alerts, one of which being a classmate she had unconfirmed plans to meet in the library that afternoon.


In the time I spent waiting for Jayme at Old Navy and then Emily at Wheaton, I remembered two things.  The first is a blog (which you can read here) I read several weeks ago, that at the time I COMPLETELY identified with, and do so even more now.  The pastor who wrote it refers to himself as a loser … of things.  He even blames it on genetics … as do I!  Seriously, I get this forgetfulness/losing things thing from my dad.  Anyway, he writes how of the three “lost” parables in Luke, he personally identifies most with the parable of the lost coin.  “Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it?  And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.'”  He calls that good news and writes, “What a great thing it is to find something.  I’m guessing that my life has had bursts of joy that many of you have never known because you don’t lose things.  Nearly every week there is some moment of ecstasy when I realize that something I thought might be gone for good is still around.”  Well, I certainly have known those bursts of joy, preacher.  Too bad I’m still waiting on said burst for my keys.

The second thing that came to mind was an Andrew Peterson song.  I know, I know, he’s gotten a lot of blog space these days (and may get even more in coming days … I did go to an AMAZING concert of his last week).  Forgive me, but I’m going to share another whole set of his lyrics.  I can’t help it; the song is just too clever … and fitting:

I’d give you all of me to know what you were thinking
And if I had one wish, I’d wish I wasn’t sinking here
Drowning in this well
Oh, can’t you tell

That I can’t pick myself up off the ground
I’ve been face down and pushed aside
Well, you know I’d rather just turn tail and run
Than lie here in the sun
And watch you pass me by
‘Cause I ain’t worth a dime

But if only I could stand up straight
I wouldn’t have to lie and wait
I could up and roll away
And never be ignored
I’ve got a feeling that I’m something more
Than just a piece of copper ore
Turning green and looking for
The reason I was born

I’ve been around since 1964
In banks and bottom drawers
On railroad ties
I’ve been passed around and cast aside
Skipped and flipped and flattened wide
Spun around and thrown away and left alone to lie

But I heard about a penny found
Lying underneath a couch
By a woman who was kneeling down
And looking for some change
Then the woman danced around
And called her friends all over town
And told ’em what was lost is found
It’s another penny saved

So I find that all this time
Beneath the surface I could shine
Like all the gold a king and queen could measure
You see, even just a penny is a treasure.

Now I’m certainly no biblical expert in parables, but they’re supposed to have a moral, a take away thought, if you will.  Jesus explicitly states the point of all three parables as the rejoicing that occurs in heaven over repentant sinners.  But in the story of the lost coin, there seems to be another layer.  There’s a desperation in the woman’s searching.  She searches until she finds what was lost.  I suppose my parable of the lost keys is somewhat antithetical.  I gave up.  It’s not that I didn’t love my keys; I just didn’t love them enough to spend anymore time on my hands and knees at Old Navy.  I’m glad my God is like the woman looking for her coin and not me looking for my keys.

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