Wow. The preacher steps on your toes and doesn’t even apologize…
He doesn’t need to, really–it’s not his fault that the Truth comes, walks straight down that aisle… right into the pew.
It’s a common story, really.
The Prodigal Son:
~demands his “rights”
~runs from home
~lives for himself
~squanders his resources
~ends up in the pig pen
~comes to his senses
I’ve read this story more times than I can count. Almost always I am thinking of the poor parents I know that are dealing with a prodigal. I feel the pain and the heartache and the weariness of those parents who are patiently praying for that child–waiting for them to come back home.
I also know that there have been times in my life when I’ve been the prodigal–living my life the way I want, instead of the way God wants–and boy am I grateful that He never gives up on me. Beyond grateful that He pursued me and gave me every opportunity to turn back to Him. And undeniably grateful to be where I am today.
AND EVEN TODAY, WHEN I’M GETTING MY TOES STEPPED ON. I was shocked into reality when I heard my pastor/husband ask us if we might consider the “other prodigal” The brother–the one who stayed and, by all appearances, did the right things, but on the inside was far from where he should have been.
A stark reminder that we can “go through the motions” of religion and be far from our Heavenly Father. Far from where He wants us to be. Religious, moral, law-abiding citizens, yet callous or cold or selfish. Doing the right things but with an attitude that smells a whole lot like a pig pen.
We know all too well that feeling of frustration, when, at the very least, we are being obedient but our heart’s not in it. In Matthew 15 Jesus quoted this passage from Isaiah when he condemned the Pharisees for their hypocrisy:
These people honor Me with their lips,
but their heart is far from Me.
They worship Me in vain,
teaching as doctrines the commands of men.
The greatness of God is not diminished just because our hearts are far from Him or we fail to worship Him fully, but WE MISS OUT on the opportunity to see and hear from a loving Heavenly Father who is patiently anticipating our return. Why keep Him waiting? What is it that hinders your return? I know for me, all it takes is a distraction. The busy-ness of life. The unconfessed sin. The wrong priorities.
I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t want to just “go through the motions” of Christianity. This is the greatest gift ever given, the greatest news on the planet. God in heaven created you and I for a purpose and I don’t want to miss it. No regrets. I want to live every day like it matters and love like there’s no tomorrow.
… and I look forward to getting back in that pew!