On Monday night they did it again! For the sixth time in their history the North Carolina Tar Heels won the NCAA National Championship. They beat Gonzaga 71-65 in the title game.
If you are a Tar Heels fan, then you probably didn’t sleep much last night. You probably spent much of the night celebrating and rejoicing over your team winning the big game. While there was nothing wrong with that, it is interesting to consider the things that excite us and cause us to rejoice and celebrate.
- For many (like me) sports does this. When their favorite team wins the championship they jump; they shout; they scream; they high-five. They buy the championship t-shirt and hat. They watch the big game over and over again on their DVR. They brag and boast to their friends on Facebook.
- Other people are excited about musical concerts. When they attend one they will applaud and celebrate over the sound of a person’s music.
- And still others get very excited when they experience a personal achievement. Whether it is getting a promotion on their job. Or, hearing news about a pregnancy. Or, hearing someone accept an offer they made on a house.
In life we can find ourselves celebrating over a variety of different things. But what about God? What about those in heaven? What causes them to celebrate?
While this may sound like a weird question, it is one that Jesus addresses in the gospel. In Luke 15 Jesus talks about three instances when people celebrated.
- In verses 3-7, He talks about the shepherd who has 100 sheep. When he loses one he searches diligently until he finds it. When it is found, he rejoices and urges his neighbors to do the same.
- In verses 8-9, He talks about a woman who loses a coin that is very precious to her. She searches diligently and carefully until she finds it. When it is found, she calls her friends and neighbors together saying, “Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin which I lost!”
- In verses 11-32, He talks about a father who loses his son. His son wanted his inheritance early so he could go out into the world and waste it on sinful living. When the boy comes to his senses and returns home the father rejoices and throws a huge celebration.
Why did Jesus tell these stories? The answer is found in verses 7 and 10. Jesus uses these stories (parables) to illustrate how God and His angels respond when one sinner repents. While the world celebrates sports, concerts, and personal achievements, those in heaven celebrate when a sinner comes to God. Those in heaven throw a party when a lost soul humbly decides to seek God’s forgiveness. That is what matters most to God!
What about you? Have you given heaven a reason to rejoice? If not, will you? If you currently live a life of sin (a life which is outside of the will of God) will you stop and come to God? If you will, like the lost boy’s father, your heavenly Father will also accept and welcome you. The angels will celebrate the reunion. They will take special notice of your decision and throw a party in heaven!
Will you give heaven the opportunity to rejoice over the most important matter in the world?
– Shawn Jeffries