“Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? Luke 15:8
It’s one of life’s mysteries. How two socks can go on the feet, come off the feet, but when the washing is done, one or more are missing partners! I had just finished folding the undies and the socks and there were eleven random, mismatched, and unpaired socks still lying on the table. What a pain. My first thought was that maybe some had gone through the previous wash. So I checked the odd sock drawer (a drawer that every household has). That found four partners. Hooray! But that still left seven socks M.I.A. I checked the washing machine and dryer, just to see if there were some strays hiding in there. I looked under beds and couches, in the bathroom and car (my kids always seem to take off socks in the car for some reason). All my searching returned only two more. But five socks still remain unaccounted for. Five individual socks were thrown in the odd sock drawer with all the other odd socks. Unless their partner can be found, they will be tossed out eventually.
As I was hanging out the next load of washing, it suddenly occurred to me that maybe the odd sock drawer is a good metaphor for what is happening in the Church today. There are a lot of odd socks that either go missing and are never found, or alternatively end up in an odd sock drawer only to be discarded after a period of time. There are also a lot of people who never quite find a Church where they fit and so vanish without a trace. Krystal experienced that. She started attending worship, became part of a small group but then disappeared off the scene. When we tracked her down and asked what had happened, she told us that it was because she felt like a misfit. She was single, unpaired, a bit of a goth, and our whole ministry was geared around families and couples. It wasn’t deliberate or intentional and the people were friendly, but Krystal felt like she didn’t belong; she was in the odd sock drawer. Then there was John. He lost his wife in a car accident. After she died, he felt out of place. Everyone loved his wife. She was a pillar of the Church and being confronted with her memory constantly meant that John gradually stopped worshipping – he was the odd sock out. Or a faithful family who were in Church one week but disappeared the next after their teenage daughter became pregnant.
Take a look at your Church. Can you see those who may feel like the odd sock out? Have you noticed the socks that have inadvertently gone missing? How diligently have you searched for that odd sock? Have you checked the odd sock drawer lately and tried to find a match for those who feel like they don’t quite fit, where their gifts/uniqueness can be appreciated and bless your community in countless ways? Are you creating a place where odd socks of all descriptions can find purpose and a place where they belong?
Thank God that he didn’t throw all us odd socks out either! Rather he sent his Son to seek us out, rescue us and give us a place where we belong forever; where our uniqueness is celebrated, where our presence brings him joy. Can we do less than that?
And maybe I might just go to the odd sock drawer and put on one of those odd socks to let every random, mismatched and unpaired person in the world know that in the body of Christ, there is always a place and a purpose for them.
Lord Jesus, thank you that you never give up on searching for the lost or odd socks of this world. Give me that same heart that I too, may experience great joy when a lost sock is found or an odd sock finds a place in your Kingdom. Amen.