A friend’s sister got married. The bride and groom went to Hawaii for their honeymoon. The groom’s luggage went to Cleveland.
Reminds me of the following joke. “Why is the mistletoe hanging over the baggage counter?” asked the airline passenger, amid the holiday rush.
The clerk replied, “That’s there so you’ll know to kiss your luggage good- bye.”
Why do airlines lose luggage? Maybe it’s hard to get good help these days. Maybe the routing system is flawed. I don’t know all the factors involved in lost luggage.
I suspect that the main problem is one we don’t know how to fix: human beings make mistakes. Lots of them! In fact, we manage to get ourselves lost –often when we don’t even realize it.
The idea of people being “lost” is a Biblical concept, though isn’t mentioned as often as some might think. Jesus referred to the “lost sheep of Israel” (Matthew 10:6 and 15:24). He told parables about a lost sheep, a lost coin, and a lost son (Luke 15). He said that his mission was “to seek and save the lost” (Luke 19:10).
But, what does it mean to be “lost”? We’ve used the word so much that it may have lost touch with the original analogies in which it was used. I’m afraid we think of it only as something that matters after we die. If so, we’ve lost something significant in its meaning.
What Jesus seems to be saying is that when we wander from the safety of God’s care, when we meander off the path of his guidance, we are “lost”. Sometimes, we move away because we don’t know any better or just aren’t paying attention to where we’re going – like a sheep grazing until he’s out of his shepherd’s sight. In that case, we may not even realize we are lost. But, other times, we are like that rebellious son who deliberately chose to move out of his father’s house and live life his own way.
The result of both kinds of being lost is the same. A wandering sheep and a wayfaring son both face great danger and likely destruction. That impacts life here and now. Both kinds of lost people desperately need to be returned to a place of safety and comfort. That’s what Jesus came to do for us.
Airlines will probably continue to lose luggage. Without doubt, people will continue to get lost. The good news is that lost suitcases can be reunited with their owner. Lost people can be, too.