Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, does not light a candle, and sweep the house…
I. First, the parable treats of man, the object of Divine mercy, as LOST.
1. Notice, first, the treasure was lost in the dust. The woman had lost her piece of silver, and in order to find it she had to sweep for it, which proves that it had fallen into a dusty place, fallen to the earth, where it might be hidden and concealed amid rubbish and dirt. Every man of Adam born is as a piece of silver lost, fallen, dishonoured, and some are buried amid foulness and dust. Thou art lost by nature, and thou must be found by grace, whoever thou mayst be.
2. In this parable that which was lost was altogether ignorant of its being lost. The silver coin was not a living thing, and therefore had no consciousness of its being lost or sought after. The piece of money lost was quite as content to be on the floor or in the dust, as it was to be in the purse of its owner amongst its like. It knew nothing about its being lost, and could not know. And it is just so with the sinner who is spiritually dead in sin, he is unconscious of his state, nor can we make him understand the danger and terror of his condition. The insensibility of the piece of money fairly pictures the utter indifference of souls unquickened by Divine grace.
3. The silver piece was lost but not forgotten. The woman knew that she had ten pieces of silver originally; she counted them over carefully, for they were all bet little store, and she found only nine, but she well remembered that one more was hers and ought to be in her hand. This is our hope for the Lord's lost ones, they are lost but not forgotten, the heart of the Saviour remembers them, and prays for them.
4. Next, the piece of silver was lost but still claimed. Observe that the woman called the money, "my piece which was lost." When she lost its possession she did not lose her right to it; it did not become somebody else's when it slipped out of her hand and fell upon the floor. Those for whom Christ hath died, whom He hath peculiarly redeemed, are not Satan's even when they are dead in sin. They may come under the devil's usurped dominion, but the monster shall be chased from his throne.
5. Further, observe that the lost piece of money was not only remembered and claimed, but it was also valued. In these three parables the value of the lost article steadily rises. This is not very clear at first sight, because it may be said that a sheep is of more value than a piece of money; but notice that the shepherd only lost one sheep out of a hundred, but the woman lost one piece out of ten, and the father one son out of two. To the Lord of love a lost soul is very precious: it is not because of its intrinsic value, but it has a relative value which God sets at a high rate.
6. The piece of money was lost, but it was not lost hopelessly. The woman had hopes of recovering it, and therefore she did not despair, but set to work at once. I congratulate the Christian Church too, that her piece of money has not fallen where she cannot find it. I rejoice that the fallen around us are not past hope; yea, though they dwell in the worst dens of London, though they be thieves and harlots, they are not beyond the reach of mercy. Up, O Church of God, while possibilities of mercy remain!
7. One other point is worthy of notice. The piece of silver was lost, but it was lost in the house, and the woman knew it to be so. What thankfulness there ought to be in your minds that you are not lost as heathens, nor lost amid Romish or Mohammedan superstition, but lost where the gospel is faithfully and plainly preached to you; where you are lovingly told, that whosoever believeth in Christ Jesus is not condemned. Lost, but lost where the Church's business is to look after you, where it is the Spirit's work to seek and to find you. This is the condition of the lost soul, depicted as a lest piece of silver.
II. Secondly, we shall notice the soul under another condition, we shall view it as SOUGHT. By whom was the piece of silver sought?
1. It was sought by its owner personally.
2. This seeking became a matter of chief concern with the woman.
3. Now note, that the woman having thus set her heart to find her money, she used the most fit and proper means to accomplish her end. First, she lit a candle. So doth the Holy Spirit in the Church. But she was not content with her candle, she fetched her broom, she swept the house. If she could not find the silver as things were in the house, she brought the broom to bear upon the accumulated dust. Oh, how a Christian Church, when it is moved by the Holy Spirit, cleanses herself and purges all her work!
4. Carefully note that this seeking after the lost piece of silver with fitting instruments the broom and the candle, was attended with no small stir. She swept the house — there was dust for her eyes; if any neighbours were in the house there was dust for them. You cannot sweep a house without causing some confusion and temporary discomfort. It is to be remarked, also, that in the seeking of this piece of silver the coin was sought in a most engrossing manner.
5. This woman sought continuously — "till she found it."
III. The piece of silver FOUND. Found!
1. In the first place, this was the woman's ultimatum, and nothing short of it. She never stopped until the coin was found. So it is the Holy Spirit's design, not that the sinner should be brought into a hopeful state, but that he should be actually saved: and this is the Church's great concern, not that people be made hearers, not that they be made orthodox professors, but that they be really changed and renewed, regenerated and born again.
2. The woman herself found the piece of money. It did not turn up by accident, nor did some neighbour step in and find it. The Spirit of God himself finds sinners, and the Church of God herself, as a rule, is the instrument of their recovery.
3. Now notice when she had found it what she did — she rejoiced. The greater her trouble in searching, the higher her joy in finding. What joy there is in the Church of God when sinners are converted!
4. Next, she calls her friends and neighbours to share her joy. I am afraid we do not treat our friends and neighbours with quite enough respect, or remember to invite them to our joys. Who are they? I think the angels are here meant; not only the angels in heaven, but those who are watching here below. The angels are wherever the saints are, beholding our orders and rejoicing in our joy. The joy is a present joy; it is a joy in the house, in the Church in her own sphere; it is the joy of her neighbours who are round about her here below. All other joy seems swallowed up in this: as every other occupation was suspended to find the lost silver, so every other joy is hushed when the precious thing is found.
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Either 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?