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When Something Is Missing

by Brother Paul O’Neil

*Taken from a message and edited for publication.

Luke 15:1-10, “Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him. And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them. And he spake this parable unto them, saying, What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance. 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? And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost. Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.” 

We all know what Christ was trying to get across to the people in this passage of scripture. However, we want to look at this a little differently and consider the thought of “When Something is Missing.” 

In this parable, these two people noticed when something was lost. They were not going to be satisfied and just let it go. They were not going to lay it aside and simply forget it. It concerned them enough that they were willing to do whatever it took to find the thing that was missing. 

Ninety-nine sheep were counted, but one was missing. There were supposed to be ten pieces of silver, but one was missing. Some people would think, “What is one sheep if you have ninety-nine?” Or: “What is one piece of silver if you have all the others? What difference does it make?” But something was missing, and it was very important to them, and it stirred their hearts. It stirred them up to the point where they could not just sit by and say, “Oh well, they are gone.” Their thought was: “I have got to find it. I must know what happened to it. I want it back in its place.” 

Again, as this man looked out over his sheep, he was not going to be satisfied with the one that was gone. And when this woman held the pieces of silver in her hand, she counted them again and again, and sure enough, one piece was missing. “But,” she thought: “I am not going to let it go at that. I am not going to learn to live without the one. I want it back in its place.” 

So, can you recognize when something is missing out of your experience? Does it stir your soul to the place where you can never be satisfied with it just like it is? When you look at the rest of the saints and you are counting your experience, can you recognize when something is absent? Do you think: “It should be here, but it is not. Oh well, no big deal. I can learn to live without it. It does not matter all that much.” But the truth of the matter is—it does. We should be like this man with his sheep or this woman and her pieces of silver. We should never be satisfied when we recognize something that should be there and it is not. 

Psalm 23:1-2, “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.” Truly, we are in a good pasture. We have the truth, a good congregation and a pastor to lead us; this is a good pasture. As you look out over the congregation and see the saints’ contentment—how they live, rejoice, testify and apply themselves to the things of God—is there a troubling thought that comes to you that you just do not feel the same as the rest of the saints? Is that contentment you see displayed lacking in your heart? Do you feel somehow that you are not feeding like the other sheep or drinking like them? Do you realize that something is missing, that you are not being blessed? You see it in them, but not in yourself. Something is missing. 

When you count your life and you count up your attributes and things just do not add up, do not allow yourself to say: “Well, I miscalculated; it is probably here. I just do not recognize it.” 

John 12:3, “Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment.” When the saints gather into the house of God and begin to sing and to open up with their praise and their testimonies, there is a sweet smelling odor that fills the house of God. It is a sweet thing, a sweet smell of praise that fills the house. Some sit among us and they smell that sweet aroma of praise; they see the contentment among the saints and come to realize: “Yes, but I do not have this for myself. There is something here that I do not possess. I want to have this.” They recognize that something is missing. Something that just is not what it should be. Know this: you cannot force it if it is not there. 

Colossians 2:9-10, “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power.” When something is complete, there is nothing missing. There is nothing that has fallen off or worn away. Nothing has been surrendered. But are you complete? 

Recently, I had to replace the radiator on my truck. When I got done, the bottom hose leaked. I came to find out I was missing a little, tiny O-ring. That is all I was missing. I had to order it, and once installed, it no longer leaked. One little part was missing. And until I had that part, the job was not complete. The truck looked fine, but it was not going anywhere until I had that missing part. 

The shepherd and the woman in our opening scripture were not going to be satisfied until that missing sheep and that missing coin were found and restored where they belonged. Neither should we be satisfied with a part of our experience that is lacking and not be where we should be. The Bible tells us here that we should be complete, but we are not if something is missing. Complete: saved, sanctified, measured and committed. Am I in unity? Am I in harmony with the body and with my pastor? 

My truck looked alright sitting in the carport. It looked like it was ready to go, but it was not going anywhere. You can look Church of God on the outside, but if something is missing inside, you will not be able to function as a saint. Perhaps something has fallen off along the way. Maybe something has been let go. When it comes to spiritual things, you cannot just patch things up halfway and hope it will pass inspection. It has to be dealt with the right way. Is there something missing in your life? Do you even care? Does it even bother you? 

As this shepherd realized that one sheep was missing, he could not rest, and he refused to be satisfied. We do not know what kind of effort he had to put in to find that one lost sheep. We do not know how far he had to go or what kind of terrain he had to cross to find it. But he knew he could not be content with ninety and nine. “I will not be satisfied. I want this sheep back in the fold where it belongs.” Your pastor will not be satisfied until every sheep is where they need to be. 

A life will never be complete without God. Today, so many just do not care. They just learn to live with things they should not put up with. They have problems in the home, problems on the job, problems here and problems there, and they just learn to live with them. That woman was concerned over that one piece of silver that was missing. That missing piece was lost in the house. “I cannot find it. I know it is here.” She could not do anything with it until she found it. She could not spend it. Missing it was doing her no good. 

You might be lost in the house. You come to services, you sit and listen, but you are lost. Who can know? This coin may have been allocated for something very important. She refused to content herself with the thought: “I know it is here somewhere. I cannot find it, but perhaps I will find it someday. It will most likely turn up when I am not looking for it. I will be just doing some regular cleaning, and it will suddenly appear.” Sometimes we may misplace something and think that way. But in this case, in matters of your soul, that is not good enough. 

Hebrews 12:2, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith, ….” The faith you have comes from Christ. He authored it. When you got saved, Christ authored a faith in you. But has He finished it? Christ is the author and finisher, or perfector, of our faith. So Christ has authored something in you, but has He finished it? Has He perfected it? Or is there something missing?

Recently, I was listening to a story and it got to a certain place in the story line and just quit. The author wrote it in such a way to leave it up to the reader as to how it might have ended. To say the least, it was rather anticlimactic. It had no conclusive ending to satisfy the reader. So, is your life a story that is incomplete? Is it finished? Christ started something in you, but is it complete? You can read the lives of the saints and see how they respond to the Word, how they worship and enjoy serving God, but it is not that way with you. There is something that is just not there. It is just not complete.

Those who are concerned over such a condition will not be satisfied with one piece missing. The responsibility for finding what is missing or lost is up to us. Will you be one who puts forth the effort to find that thing that is absent? You may not understand what it is, but will you do whatever it takes to find it? It is up to you. 

When the gospel is preached, it becomes a mirror put before us, and we look into it and see ourselves. When we look in a mirror, it is not hard to see when something is missing. We can see that something is not there, but what do we do about it? 

Knowing you are not complete like the other saints, you are going to have to come to the place where you refuse to go on any further. You realize that you do not contribute to the spiritual aroma in the house of God or to the success of the local congregation. Ask yourself: “Where is my testimony? Where is my joy? Where is my declaration of where I stand?” It ought to concern and alarm you. It ought to keep you up at night, knowing there is something missing in your experience. You ought to get disturbed enough that you go looking for it. 

Song of Solomon 3:1, “By night on my bed I sought him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, but I found him not.” Very often at night, at the close of our day, we lay in bed and look back over our day. The house is quiet. Perhaps it is Sunday night and we have come from church. Slowly, something begins to dawn on us. We begin to come to the realization that something is not right in our hearts. We begin to take inventory. “What is wrong with me? I did not put myself into the service like the other saints. I claim to be saved. I do have a love for Christ, but there is something that is not quite right. What is it? It is keeping me awake. It disturbs me.”

God has a way of getting to us. We may come into a service and know we are not what we should be. We put on a front and act like everything is fine. But when we get home and lay down, the Spirit of God begins to speak to us: “You know there was a sweetness in the service tonight. The saints displayed a contentment that you do not have. When the message went forth, they enjoyed it and fed on it. But you were finding fault with it. You did not like how that was said.” Quite often, people cover their own faults by finding fault in others. 

We may do as it tells us here in Song of Solomon. We may seek the Lord upon our bed. We may pray about it, but we fail to get the answer we desire. God was faithful to show us our lack, and we did not get the answer we wanted, but we refused to content ourselves with that. 

Song of Solomon 3:2, “I will rise now, and go about the city in the streets, and in the broad ways I will seek him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, but I found him not.” So, our efforts increase, and we come to church seeking: we dig into the Word of God, and we get more earnest. Yet, as it says here, “I sought him, but I found him not.” But we are not going to give up or just let it go. We are looking in the right places, but there is still something missing. There is still something I have not done. Notice the determination here. There is a refusal to just let things go. God has shown the need, and we are going to seek until we find it.

Verse 3, “The watchmen that go about the city found me: to whom I said, Saw ye him whom my soul loveth?” The watchman is your pastor. The watchman will find you if you let him. He is going to find you with the message. He is going to find you in his prayer. Many times in his prayer, someone will come up before him. God is faithful to point out to him those who need help, and God will give him what needs to be preached to help that individual. God will have him go to where that lost sheep is. He will have the pastor search for that lost coin in the house. 

You realize you have tried to find this on your own. You have tried your best to work things out on your own, and that did not work. So now you realize you need help—you need to talk to your pastor. You determine regardless of what it costs, you are going to the altar to get the counsel and instruction you need until you find what you are seeking. So the watchman found you and you said, “Saw ye him whom my soul loveth?” Yes, your pastor saw Him. And here at an altar is where you will find Him.

Notice the next verse. Verse 4, “It was but a little that I passed from them, but I found him whom my soul loveth: I held him, and would not let him go, until I had brought him into my mother’s house, and into the chamber of her that conceived me.” It does not take long to find Him once you do things the right way. Right after the watchman found you and you got the counsel needed, you found Him. It says here, “I held him, and would not let him go.” You got the thing that was missing. You now have a hold of it, and you are not about to let it get away. Next it says, “…until I had brought him into my mother’s house, and into the chamber of her that conceived me.” You used to come to services empty, by yourself, but now you are bringing Him with you. You have something to bring, something to contribute. You are bringing joy, praise and worship. 

This is effort rewarded. This is the effort the shepherd put into finding the one lost sheep. This is the same effort the woman gave to sweeping her house until she found the missing coin. “I will not let it go. I will not let it ride and accept less. I will not learn to live without. I will have it.”

You wanted to come to church and add your praise, worship and song. You used to come to church empty, but now you come in full. Before, you brought your empty profession, loneliness, heartache and trouble. You realized that was not good. You noticed others rejoicing and pouring out their all on Christ and how they were so very happy. But looking inward, you knew something was missing, and you sought for it until you found it. 

Back in Luke 15, this shepherd looked in all the valleys and all the pits where a sheep might have been lost. He searched through all the brambles and briars where sheep could get entangled. No doubt he was worried, thinking, “Where is this sheep of mine?” Your pastor looks out on the congregation, and he sees that sheep sitting in the pew. But he can tell they are in some sort of a hole or pit. And he asks himself: “What is this thing that has them in this condition? I see very little life.” So he determines that he is not going to let it go until he finds where the need is. 

The woman who had the missing coin was concerned enough to look, search and sweep. The pastor is looking, but will you look? The saints are looking, but will you look? People get lost in their own way of doing things. But will you get concerned enough to pursue what you need to pursue to get things straightened out? 

The author has authored something good in you, but what has happened to it? Has it been finished? Has it been perfected? Ninety and nine—that is quite a few sheep, but have you even stopped to count? There were nine pieces of silver when there should have been ten. But have you stopped to count? These people would never be satisfied with what they had because they knew it was not complete. They knew that the part that was missing was very important to them. They were concerned enough to go searching for that which was lost. 

When the lost sheep and the lost coin were found, they called everyone together. They said: “Rejoice with me! I found it! It was lost; it was missing, but I have found it.” They were happy. They had joy. They called their friends and neighbors. They wanted to share what they found with others. 

No doubt, we have all lost something at one time or another. It may have been your keys or your wallet and you searched everywhere. But then you stopped and prayed and asked God, and He showed you right where you left it. 

So, are you concerned enough to seek after that which is missing? Are you alarmed enough or troubled enough to go looking for it? If you go looking, God will help you find it.  

Podcast expires on Sunday September 8th, 2024