A couple of weeks back I lost two important goodies of mine - my iPod and my watch. Now I'm not the type to cry about worldly possessions but these are quite valuable items that I'd misplaced. Without them I felt rather awkward and even a bit uncomfortable; and lets be honest, if something you feel should be there isn't there, then it doesn't feel the same.
Picture a deck of cards without the aces or jigsaw puzzle with a few pieces missing. It feels odd putting them together and looks odd as well. Perhaps we can relate like that spiritually where we've either come this far without recognising our saviour and all of a sudden feel we personally need His presence, or we've tried to live the Christian life for so long and yet something isn't quite right. Something's missing.
By studying the above verses, I'd like us to consider a few points which can lead us from our current state of confusion to where God would like us to be.
"Your old sinful self has died and your new life is kept with Christ in God" (Col 3:3)
Something was missing but is now retrieved; something was dead but is now alive; something was out of reach but now within reach; something was unholy and worldy but is now blessed and cleansed, pure and whole. You could use all the metaphors in the world but, wth Christ, a spade's a spade and once you've got him, then BLESS YOU because that is for eternity.
"He was lost but now he is found !" (Lk 15:24b)
In my job I get a lot of customers telling me they've lost their credit cards; they call up for it to be stopped and have replacements requested and issued. Some don't even receive their new pieces of plastic either because of how they've managed their account, resulting in no replacement sent out or they've simply been lost in the post. Imagine that being the case with God and faith.
Incidentally, the majority of those customers must be really lost without them! All those finances, all those spending plans and so on. Not to different from the prodigal son featured in this passage in Luke's gospel who took his share of his father's fortune and ended up in a terrible rut.
"My son was dead...." (Lk 15:24a)
This is where one ends up at rock bottom, with nothing or no-one. Can you relate to that? There are people out there in the community that can. As soon as you step out the door, there are and they're there in front of you.
Last year at a meeting held in Parkhead Corps, it was revealed in a survey that the area of Parkhead was in the top three poverty-stricken towns in the UK.
TOP THREE! And there we are sitting in the hall every week, in our seats, in our sections, complaining about the temperature, worrying about whether we'll get tea or coffee after the meeting! The Salvation Army has a motto - heart to God, hand to man. Do you think people out in the community worry about the above? Heck no they don't - because they're not that priviliedged!
People who used to come - former attendees, PRODIGALS - may be in a similar position. I often wonder how many of us take the time to actively consider that.
"...but now he is alive again!" (Lk 15:24a)
That's where we come into the picture with a bit of simple interaction - a simple "Hi/hello/you well?" It works, and it makes all the difference! Through us the people get to see Christ and know Christ; maybe again, maybe for the first time.
Great! Yeah? No?
It means we win more for Heaven! Yeah?........No?........
I wonder if there are any prodigals reading this; anyone who's already lost and has been for sometime. I don't know if there is but He does and He knows what's going on with your right now. Don't even try to hide from it.
Does the word in this blog post apply to you? Do you feel that God has opened your ears to what you need to hear? Do you feel that a piece is missing from you and you need to be made whole once again in Christ?
My prayer is that you've been challenged - because the Lord has spoken to me and says we need to take action in piecing hearts and souls together again. And its not that difficult, friends.
Do what you need to do, and do it quick, before the Lord does otherwise.