Remember What It Was Like to Be Lost?—Life Application for March 26, 2017

March 19, 2017 No Comments »
Remember What It Was Like to Be Lost?—Life Application for March 26, 2017

By David Faust

Sometimes the far country seemed like a dream.

And so did the feast his father had thrown long ago, with all the music and dancing, the happy tears and hugs, the overwhelming feeling of relief and hope. Now it was but a fading memory.

Back then his family gave him a nickname: “P. S.”—Prodigal Son. Many years had passed since then. What would the P.S., the postscript, be?

Now What?

P. S. had grown accustomed to the hearty meals he enjoyed every day, but once in a while his stomach churned as he remembered the bitter taste and sickening texture of the pods he ate with the pigs during that dark season. Occasionally he recalled the hangover headaches and the sour smell of wine that lingered after long nights of partying in the far country. How empty his soul felt back then! Distant from his family’s love, he had tried to live it up but sank to a new low.

He still remembered the moment when he came to his senses. “Hired servants in my father’s house have it better than this,” he reasoned. Arriving back home, he had been astonished when his father embraced him, not as a slave but as a full-fledged member of the family. Even the negativity of his angry older brother couldn’t dampen the homecoming celebration. The table was spread, the prize fattened calf ended up on the table, and his dad’s joy was unrestrained. The happy patriarch kept repeating, “My son was dead, but he’s alive again!”

With the passing of time, though, it was harder for
P. S. to be amazed by grace. Lately he had been taking for granted the familiar comforts of his father’s house. Long ago the party was over. Now what?

Have We Forgotten?

The church gathers for worship. Despite some occasional conflicts with our brothers and sisters, we feel pretty comfortable here. The table is spread. Familiar friends shake our hands. We sing, “I once was lost, but now am found,” because even if it’s a distant memory, we treasure the story of redemption. Who hasn’t wandered from home and squandered our resources, wondering if the Father would be gracious enough to welcome us back? In a sense, it’s every Christian’s story.

If we’re not careful, though, with the passing of time we become so comfortable in our Father’s house, we forget what it was like in the far country. We forget that many of our neighbors are living there right now.

Maybe you became a Christian after your own rebellious season in the far country. Or perhaps you grew up in a faithful home and never strayed too far away. Either way, it’s our mission and privilege to welcome people home. The prophet urged, “Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love” (Joel 2:13). Will we humbly, happily join the festivities like undeserving prodigals or resent it like pouting older brothers?

The party isn’t over. Whenever we come to our senses and return to the Lord, whenever we rediscover God’s abounding love for lost people, our worship services become homecoming celebrations again. Every baptism, every prayer, every song of praise ought to remind us of the Father’s unrestrained joy when a straying child comes home.

P.S. We’ve all been Prodigal Sons and Daughters.

David Faust serves as the Associate Minister at East 91st Street Christian Church in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Based on International Sunday School Lesson, © 2013, by the Lesson Committee. Scripture quotations are from the New International Version ©2011, unless otherwise indicated.

As you apply today’s Scripture study to everyday life, read Engage Your Faith by David Faust and the correlating Evaluation Questions.

Daily Readings

March 13

M.

Psalm 80:8-19

Restore Your Vine, O Lord

March 14

T.

John 13:31-35

Love, a New Commandment

March 15

W.

1 Peter 1:13-21

Self-Discipline for Holy Living

March 16

T.

2 John 4-11

Walking in Truth and Love

March 17

F.

Ephesians 2:11-21

Becoming One in Christ

March 18

S.

1 John 4:16b-19

Abiding in God’s Love

March 19

S.

John 15:1-17

Love One Another and Bear Fruit

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