Something I had never realized before struck me as I read those parables:
The shepherd goes off in search of the lost sheep that
BELONGS TO HIM!
The woman hunts for HER lost coin.
The father welcomes his son BACK HOME!
What I realized, or learned afresh, is that we belong to God. We were NEVER created for life in the world in its current state, but rather we were initially created to live in peace, in blissful contentment in communion with God in paradise!
Knowing that, is it any wonder we are all miserable and stay that way so long as we try to fill our lives with anything other than a relationship with our Creator.
Thinking we can live apart the Lord makes as much sense as cutting down a tree, expecting it to still be able to survive once separated from its roots!
I've been a Christian, at least in name, for a long time. I've known for a while that Jesus Christ is the shepherd, the woman, and the father of the parables in Luke 15. And He never gives up on the lost because they belong to Him.
These parables were prompted by the murmurings of the scribes and Pharisees about Jesus consorting with tax collectors and other notorious sinners.
Reading those parables this week left me feeling convicted.
Are we not called, as Christians, to be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ? How long have I neglected the lost sheep, priding myself on the 99 safe ones? How long have I settled for the 9 coins I have, never giving a thought for the lost coin? Finally, how many times have I behaved as the "brother who stayed," complaining about the love and grace heaped upon the "brother who strayed?"
This will not do.
For me, IT STOPS NOW!
On Monday, I'll let you know what I'm going to do about it.
If you're ready for an adventure, check back on Monday for a challenge you can take to bust yourself out of your own comfort zone and begin living a radical new walk.
A walk that is no longer ALL ABOUT YOU!
Thank You for Your Indulgence,
P.S. If you are interested in checking out the parables we've been working through, you can hop over to http://www.padfield.com/downloads/ntbooks.html. In the first section on the page, entitled New Testament Survey Books, the 5th link - A Study of the Parables of Jesus - is the study we are doing. It's great to work through if you are unfamiliar with the parables, want to learn more about them, or have kids you'd like to teach the parables.