After having the Pharisees defile their mind by thinking like a shepherd, now Jesus insults them by comparing them to a woman! He sweeps away at their ridiculous pride like the woman in the story sweeps the dust from the corners of her house.
The woman in this story has ten silver coins - ten drachmas. Each was equal to an average day's wage. This was either money she had stored away to use as the family had need or it could be her dowry, sown into a headband worn at her wedding. Either way, it would be a big deal to loose something so precious.
I invented a game called "crazy clean" to play when something is lost in our house. The kids hate it. Rather than walking around looking for the "thing", we run around putting things away. The lost item is always found amid the clutter of our lives. Even in the less cluttered days of Jesus, a coin could be lost in a corner, hidden under dust in a crack in the floor, or under a pot along the wall. The woman would not simply think, "Oh well, I still have 90% of my money." No! She would frantically clean and search until that lost coin was found. In that moment, the lost coin is worth far more than the nine already safe.
Jesus is the woman in the story, seeking the lost sinner hidden under dust and debris. The coin is lifeless. It cannot cry out or aid in the search. The Savior pursues the sinner, reaching down to pick him up and restore him. The light of the gospel pierces the darkness, illuminating the soul of the lost. Jesus was willing to get dirty, to touch sin when he had never before been defiled.
In the same way the woman calls her girlfriends over to rejoice when she finds the lost coin, God rejoices when one sinner is saved. Verse 10 says, "There is rejoicing in the presence of the angels". That means it is God himself who is rejoicing, and everyone around him joins in the celebration. How wonderful that the creator of heaven and earth, the Triune God of all, would rejoice and bring glory to himself through our repentance.
"The practical lesson to the unconverted is just this. Dear friend, see what value is set upon you. You think that nobody cares for you—why, heaven and earth care for you! You say, 'I am as nothing, a castaway, and I am utterly worthless.' No, you are not worthless to the blessed Spirit, nor worthless to the church of God—she longs for you... Welcome! welcome! why, the church is searching for you; the Spirit of God is searching for you. Do not talk of welcome, you will be a great deal more than welcome. Oh, how glad will Christ be, and the Spirit be, and the church be, to receive you! Ah! but you complain that you have done nothing to make you fit for mercy. Talk not so, what had the lost piece of money done? What could it do? It was lost and helpless. They who sought it did all; he who seeks you will do all for you." - C.H. Spurgeon