The lost sheep wandered away. It may have realized it was separated from the shepherd and flock, and may even have sensed danger in its predicament. It might perhaps have bleated sadly, but couldn’t find its own way back. The shepherd went in search of the sheep and rescued it. Some people are like this sheep. They sense that they are lost souls but don’t know what to do about it.
The woman who lost one of her ten coins dropped everything and began an extensive search for it. The coin, of course, could not help in the finding process. It did not even know that it was lost. The woman searched intensely until the coin was found. Some people are like this coin. They are lost souls who do not know their savior or even their need of one.
The prodigal son was willfully lost. He was living a life of self-indulgence and sin but, with a broken and contrite heart, chose to return to his father who ran to meet him and welcomed him with open arms. Some people are like this son. They are lost souls who repent and are welcomed back by their loving, heavenly Father.