In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus told the following parable: “What woman having ten silver coins, if she loses one of them, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? 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.’ Just so, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15:8-10).
While Jesus drew attention to the happiness in heaven that accompanies repentance, the parable also provides us a worthy New Year’s resolution. Maybe in 2011, we too lost something valuable that we need to recover. The woman lost a drachma, a Greek coin worth about one day’s wages, maybe $180.00 in today’s America. But sometimes we can lose much more than a few hundred dollars.
Did we, for instance, in 2011 lose the precious coin of doing something we really love doing? The most anticipated and publicized chess match of all time took place in 1972 when the prodigy Bobby Fischer challenged the World Champion Boris Spassky in Reykjavik, Iceland. The challenger Fischer won the series of games to become the world’s greatest player. No one was better at chess than Fischer–or had more passion for the game. But after the tournament, Fischer mysteriously stopped playing chess and became a recluse. Twenty years passed before he returned to the game he loved, again at a tournament pitting him against Spassky. And once more, in 1992, at Montenegro and Belgrade, Fischer defeated Spassky.
Did we this past year lose the precious coin of doing something we love? Did we bury our talents? Did we not do our best work? Or maybe there is some other coin we lost: The precious coin of being a good friend? The drachma of generosity? Of a clear conscience? Of prayer? Of happiness? Whatever of great value we lost, let’s put effort in 2012 into recovering it.
Jesus’ parable ends with a celebration. Festivities, publications, and news stories marked Fischer’s reappearance into the chess world in 1992. At our New Year’s parties a year hence, let’s rejoice together because we found in 2012 what once was lost.