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Some things are worth searching for

by Laurence Chilcott

Suitable for Key Stage 2


To understand that often the things for which we search the hardest are the things most worth finding and celebrating.

Preparation and materials

  • None required.


1. Tell the story below.

First it was the usual ‘Now where did I put it?’
Next it was a bemused ‘It’s just got to be here somewhere.’
Then it was total panic!
Claire couldn’t find her chemistry book and she had chemistry first lesson that day.
Any other subject wouldn’t be quite so bad, but Mr Wilson, the chemistry teacher, had quite a reputation. He was a very good teacher, but most pupils would do anything to make sure they didn’t annoy him. His withering glare and sarcastic comments were legendary. There was no way that Claire could face telling him she had lost her book. He'd hit the roof!
Her mum knew there was something wrong as soon as she came downstairs.
‘What is it?’ she asked.
‘I can’t find my chemistry book,’ Claire replied, wiping a tear from the corner of her eye.
‘Have you looked properly?’ asked her mum, knowing how many ‘lost’ articles had been found under her bed or at the back of a drawer.
‘I’ve looked everywhere,’ responded a very worried Claire. ‘What will Mr Wilson say?’
Claire and her mother searched through her school bag, checked the bookshelves, rummaged under the bed and opened every drawer, but there was no sign of the chemistry book.
Eventually, even Claire’s mother had to agree that the book was nowhere to be found.
‘You’ll just have to apologise to Mr Wilson. Tell him that you'll pay for a new book and copy up all the notes,’ she said shrugging her shoulders. ‘He might not be very pleased that you've been careless enough to lose your book, but you can’t do any more than that.’
Reluctantly, Claire agreed. She didn’t know how she was going to face Mr Wilson, but she knew her mum was right.
When home time came Claire’s mother was watching at the window. She had been thinking about her daughter all day and wondering how Mr Wilson had reacted.
Claire looked her usual cheery self as she walked up the path and let out her customary cry as she came through the door: 'Mum, I’m home! What’s for tea?'
‘Well? What did Mr Wilson say?’ her mum asked anxiously.
‘Nobody had their chemistry books,’ said Claire, with a sheepish grin. ‘He’d taken them in for marking and I’d forgotten!’

2. No matter how hard Claire had searched she would never have found her book at home. She was looking for something that wasn’t lost. However, when we really lose something that is precious or important, we search until we find it. When we find it, we are relieved and thankful, and tell everyone how pleased we are.

3. Jesus told a story about a shepherd who had 100 sheep. One day when he was checking the flock he found that one was missing. Every sheep was precious to him, so he made sure the 99 sheep were safe and went out to look for the lost one. Sure enough, in time he found the missing sheep - it had wandered off and got caught up in a thorn bush that held it trapped by its thick wool. He freed the sheep and carried it to safety, with the rest of the flock. He was so pleased he told all his friends about it.

4. Now, why did Jesus tell a story like this? Well, Christians believe that he wanted us to know that we are very special to God. Sometimes we can wander off into our own ways and get caught up in all sorts of problems – telling lies, being unkind, only thinking about ourselves, doing things we know are wrong. God does not love us any less when we do these things, but he does want us to get back to doing what is right. He will help us get back on track and celebrate when we do. And, just as the sheep was much happier to be back with its friends, so will we be.

Time for reflection

What is precious to us?
How would we react if it was lost?
People are searching for cures for diseases, searching for greater understanding of the universe, searching for new sources of energy. Sometimes people may be disappointed, but the search goes on.

Dear God,
Please help us in our search to understand more about ourselves, our world, and your love for us. Please help us to understand more about what is of true value and worth.
We pray for all those who are searching for ways to help those who are sick or in need.
Bless all those who spend their lives in service to others.

Publication date: January 2016   (Vol.18 No.1)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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