The Distant Country

 

 "The younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country, and there squandered his wealth in wild living." Luke 15:13..."God's favorite word is 'come!' " Robert L. Sterner

 

Are you a "prodigal?" In Luke 15, Jesus tells the story of the prodigal son who demanded of his father his inheritance. At root was something much more than a desire for his father's wealth, which he believed he had coming to him. I think an even deeper wish was that he be able to get completely away from his father, his influence and control. This is shown by the fact that when his father gave it to him, he immediately left to live in a distant country.......Now, you and I read all this and most likely don't see any connection between the prodigal and his father. At least not now. Maybe in our past, but not today. Weren't we in church just this past weekend? Didn't we join in with the singing of the hymns and choruses? We even placed a generous check, in our estimation, in the offering plate. It may even have been a full tithe. Sometime in the coming week we'll be in a small group somewhere. We'll even have devotional time this week, when we can make some room for it. We haven't left our Father. We're not living in a distant country.......are we?

 

I have found in my life that I can end up living in a distant country from Him and not really be aware of it....or at least willing to admit it. I can be doing all of that which is listed above, and more, since I'm a pastor and preacher by calling. I can do it all and still be living, at least in part, in a distant country....away from the fullness of my Father. 

There are so many ways for us to take up residence in that country. Discouragement and disappointment rank high. So do offenses taken, which slowly lead us into simmering anger, bitterness and unforgiveness. Worry, anxiety, fear, all of them make great paths to get there. So does busyness, self-pity, and an ability to see everything, everywhere, but Him. All of these and more can slowly, or quickly, move you and I into the distant country....even though we have not physically moved a step. Even though outwardly, nothing has changed in our routine. And maybe it's because we have allowed our walk with Him to deteriorate into routine that opened the door to the distant country in the first place. Whatever the reason or cause of that first step, we've left the country of our Father, at least in part, and dwell now in that distant country. Where the riches we once knew in Him are being squandered, to the point that sometime....soon, they'll be gone. Then spiritually, and likely emotionally and physically as well, we're in the pig pen....with the prodigal.....eating pig food......Might you, in some way, be there right now? If so, can you hear the heart of the Father saying, "Come home?" He told Israel that from the beginning, He had been their home. It is so with us as well. He calls us to come home from the far country we've wandered to. Do we hear today? Do we come home today?

So I close with the question I started with: Are you a prodigal? Has your heart wandered to the far country, though you maintain the outward routine? As Sterner says, His favorite word is "come." He extends it to you now. Come home. To Him. Leave the distant country for His country. A country that never left you. Come home to the land you were created for.

Blessings,
Pastor O 

 

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  December 2017  
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