FIVE STEPS BACK HOME

What was it about the prodigal son that took him back home when everything had gone wrong?

He took five steps to get back to the family atmosphere of his father’s house.

First, he recognised the senselessness of his sinful condition. This can be hard. We fool ourselves that our sin is really quite harmless or maybe even just a bit of fun. Yet eventually the realisation comes upon us that what we are doing is not making us fuller people but simply stunting our development. We are brought short and forced to face the truth that the grass is in fact greener where we used to be.

Repentance is the second step.

The awakening brought about by the hopelessness of our situation leads us to accept that we’ve been going in the wrong direction long enough and it’s time to turn around and go back.

It forces us to admit that we alone are responsible for the mess we are in; sin is our choice and nobody forces us. And what the prodigal son really wanted was not just some food but the restoration of his relationship with his father.

Repentance must always be accompanied by honesty. There’s no point in making excuses for what we have done. The son could have blamed the home situation, his father or his brother, the farmer who gave him a job with the pigs, etc. But the less we are found making excuses the more likely we are to be serious about changing our way of life.

When he repented the son displayed humility.

He simply acknowledged that he had sinned, was sorry and did not deserve to be called a son any more. He knew he had disgraced his family and friends, accepted it and was determined to do something about it. He set no conditions to his confession.

Then he made his resolution to go back home.

He didn’t ask for time to consider things, procrastinate and put things off. He did something about it, left his sorry situation and determined to start things afresh.

Five steps.

But the only ones that would take him back to the feast. And us?

IS THERE A CHRISTIAN IN THE HOUSE?


You may be in the church building, but are you in Christ? Your name is on the parish records, but is it in the book of life? You may be in the Church, but is Christ in you? Being in a classroom does not make you a teacher. Being in a surgery doesn’t make you a doctor. And beingin a church building doesn’t make you a disciple!

Jesus preaches in such a way that we either get on board or abandon ship. Either we will follow Christ or forsake him. Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem. He is making his way to the cross. He is on his way to betrayal, flogging, mocking, scourging, and beating. His own people have rejected him. He is on his way to Jerusalem to die for the very people who will murder him. They have called him Beelzebub. They have accused him of breaking the law. They have numbered him with the publicans and sinners. Jesus knows his disciples will suffer the same fate and only a true disciple can endure such persecution.

Before you decide to buy that new home cinema system you have to sit down and work out whether you have enough money to pay for it, whether in cash or instalments. And it’s the same thing when it comes to being a disciple of Christ. There is a cost involved.

Jesus never tried to get big crowds. In fact, he said things that would put off the faint-hearted. To follow him, he said, you must love your family but never let them get in the way of your responding fully to God’s call.

Those who appreciate the wisdom of God’s plan are prepared to give up wealth, reputation, security and even their own lives if it is demanded. This does not come cheap.

It’s easy to say that we would do all this for God, but how well are we faring in the ordinary things of life, the little demands that are put upon us? This is a good guide to how much we are being true to our calling as disciples.

Being a Christian means accepting all but giving Christ top priority. There can be no part-time Christians.