by Steve DuPlessie
As Deb and I talked about last Sunday’s sermon, “Our God is a missionary God,” she reminded me of the story Jesus told about the Prodigal Son. You know, Luke 15, the kid who wished his dad was dead, wanted his inheritance now before his dad had even died (possibly forcing his father to take out a loan against his property to give the brat his cash), then the son wasted it all on partying and wild women – some things never change – and came crawling home filthy, hungry, and poor. And his dad … in a stunning picture of God’s amazing grace … ran out to welcome him home with a huge, very public, forgiving hug and loving kiss, and then he threw a huge, extravagant celebration party because his lost son was back home safe.
But the text of Luke 15 tells us the prodigal’s older brother was rippin’ mad that his dad had never thrown him a party, even though the older brother had stayed home, done all the right things, and worked hard. And then, when his dad tried to mollify him, saying, “Son, you know that all I have is yours!” it just reminded the angry older son that now dad was wasting part of what would one day be his inheritance on a huge party for his loser brother.
But Deb reminded me that in the culture of that day – a culture that highly valued generous hospitality – it was more of an honor in the community to be able to throw a lavish party … than it was to be the special guest. So when the dad invited the older brother to come into the party, a party thrown with the older son’s inheritance, the dad was in effect was saying, “Come on, be the host with me, share that honor with me!” … …
Get this now. Maybe becoming a Christian is not only about the blessing of accepting Jesus into my life, enjoying the immense relief of all my sins forgiven, being reconciled with God, and living in the comfort of the indwelling Holy Spirit, but maybe … it’s also about the blessing of accepting Jesus’ incredible invitation to be an active, useful, partner in his mission – to co-participate, missionally, with God in his grand, grace-filled, eternal, cosmic plan of redemption.
“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” – Luke 19:10
Listen, it is God’s plain purpose and plan to redeem fallen people who are far away from him, to forgive them and restore them so that ultimately there will be worshipers from every language, people group, tribe, and nation around His throne! That’s His mission. So it must be our mission – as individuals and as a church family: to work together with God to raise up people to worship Him from “all the families of the earth,” from every language, tribe, people group and nations.
And so, you and I have a choice of two roles in that mission, pick one: you can be sent out, or you can be a supporter/sender. Which will it be?