Jesus once told a story about a man who had a son that took his inheritance early, spent it all on crazy living, reached a point of desperation, and decided to go back to his father. To quote the rest directly, it says:
“So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.’ But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began.”-Luke 15:20-24
This story is challenging. It certainly has been for me. For many of us, we have seen people make commitments to changing their life. We have been part of people’s life when they fall back into doing the same things they said they would never do again. I suppose we all keep falling into the things we don’t want to do during different seasons of our life.
I love reading about this father rushing to greet his son. I enjoy it because the father doesn’t say, “Let me see in a month if you are really going to change. Maybe go out and work with the field hands for a while and earn my love back.” The father doesn’t say “I can’t forgive you.” He says and does something much more powerful. The father is human. He doesn’t know whether his son would leave again. Perhaps that is the biggest part of the challenge.
This verse had been on my mind for months.
If I hadn’t been transformed by this teaching of Jesus, I would have missed out on the greatest joy of the week. It wasn’t long ago that I wrote about a young man that had been following Islam, but decided to follow Jesus. He was living in a Muslim family that didn’t support his decision to change his life and become a Christian. The father was in fact the leader of a local Islamic mosque. The father ended up seeing such massive and powerful change in the son’s life, that he decided put aside his life of Islam, and commit to following Christ.
I think back to this time. What if I had been the type of person that wanted to see a season of “proving it” before I accepted someone’s change in life? I would have missed the joy of not only seeing a person transformed, but an entire household. Pray with us now for the influence of the boy’s father to change even more lives that I could never reach.
What radical discipleship happening in the households of Burundi!