Undeserving. (part two)

Let’s think about the previous post. The son felt that because of all he did, he didn’t deserve to be considered his father’s son. Wait. When did he deserve to ever be son? What did he do to be a son? He was born!

How many of you are in that same position. You’ve messed up. You’ve hurt people. Turned your back on God. Blamed Him for your life. Wanted all the good stuff from Him, but no responsibility. How many of you have felt that you aren’t deserving of a second chance? What did you do to ever deserve a chance in the first place? God doesn’t give us what we deserve.

Allow me to set a scene. Close your eyes and imagine this… well… After you read the scene you can. If you did it before you read then it would be impossible to read what you are to imagine. Sidetracked. Anyway…

 You are standing at the foot of a hill. The atmosphere is dry and hot, and filled with a sense of bitter anticipation. You are looking down at your feet and amidst the dry soil, you see a trail of blood. Following the trail, you see roman soldiers around three different crosses. There is people all around muttering to each other. No tears, but an ironic hostility. You follow the trail and notice that this hostility is directed only to one of the men laying on a cross. However, you can’t even tell he is a man based on his appearance. His feet fused to the cross by a rusted nail, the size of a railroad spike. Beaten, battered, skin literally hanging off of him. His arms outstretched with a nail piercing each hand. A wreath made of three inch thorns appear to be shoved down upon his head. The act of those thorns being thrust so forcibly on his head had literally split the skin. You have never seen anything so hideous, so bloody, you turn your head and gag at the very stench of his diseased, rotting flesh. Yet, he is still alive. The soldiers raise the cross to which he has been nailed to and his body sags down. In order for him to continue breathing, he must pull himself up with his nail pierced hands. All his strength is fading fast. As the shock of this site continues, you hear shouting. “If you are really God save yourself.” “You’re a fake.” “I hate you.” “You mean nothing.” “He healed others, let him heal himself.” 

People are spitting on him, kicking dirt at him.  “What did this man do?!” You ask. Nothing. He did this for you. What did you do to deserve such a sacrifice? When this man was on the cross, he thought of you. This man who had all the power to walk off that cross stayed on it, for you. Why? So you could experience what the son in the last blog experienced. Unearned, undeserved forgiveness. What have you been forgiven of? Any wrong you’ve ever done or ever will do.  What did the son have to do to get forgiveness from his father? Nothing. All he had to do was accept that forgiveness.

God doesn’t give us what we deserve, but what was purchased for us through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. When you accept the price that Jesus paid, ALL of heaven has a party in your name! Why? Because you were lost but are found. You were dead, but through Christ you are live. Because of Jesus, you never have to be separated from God. That is why God throws the party! 

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Undeserving. (part one)

There was once man who had two sons. The younger went up to him one day and said “Hey, dad, don’t take this personally but, you know the inheritance that I would get when you’re dead? Well, I would like to have it now.”

Now, in the culture this family was in, that was unheard of. As I am sure you think, this son is rude and very disrespectful. I agree. Back to the story.

After hearing this, the dad did just that. WIthin days, the boy packed his bags and headed out. Not just down the road, the boy left the country! This disrespectful, ungrateful kid took his inheritance and gambled it away. Wasted his dad’s entire life’s work. Well, at least half of it. While this kid had money, he had friends, ladies, and all the comforts one could ask for. In a moment, they were all gone.

At the same time the kid’s money was gone, the economy collapsed. Jobs were scarce. The kid began to truly feel what it was like to starve. Suddenly thoughts of the food that was placed on his dad’s table raced through his mind. He quickly shook the thought, knowing that he could never return home. Not after what he did. Not after how he treated his dad. “Home, sweet home” just didn’t exist anymore. He was on his own for good.

After countless rejections and returned applications, the kid found a job out in the country working with a pig farmer. This was the lowliest of low. White collar, heir to millions, feeder of pigs. The boy, making hardly enough to stay alive, was so hungry, he knelt down to share in the bounty of slop the pigs ate. Yet, his boss wouldn’t allow it and kept a close eye.

Exhausted, starving and covered with pig mess, the kid came to his senses. He figured all of his dad’s farmhands at least had a decent place to live and were, by no means, starving. The kid began to work on his apology.

To give you an idea, in this kid’s culture, his dad could legally have him killed for his disrespect. This apology had to be REALLY good.

“Dad, hi. It’s been a long… No, to casual.”

“My dearest father. Amongst my wondering… what?”

“I got it!”

“Dad, I have messed up in God’s eyes and yours. I don’t even deserve to be called your son. I merely wish you would hire me as one of your farmhands.”

With him replaying the scenario over and over, trying to get his apology perfect, the kid heads back home.

Back in the city that the kid lived in, yet still a very long way from home, the kid sees something in the distance. Someone. Heading very quickly to him. It was his dad! His dad saw him and started sprinting over to him. (Something a man of his rank and position in the community would not do).

Once the dad reached his son, he began to hug him and kiss him! The boy proceeded to his meager attempt to apologize, but kept being interrupted by his dad’s shouts of joy and his kisses.

“Dad, I messed up big time. I” (SMOOCH). “I don’t deser- (SMOOCH) -ve to be called your (SMOOCH) son.” (SMOOCH) “Please just (SMOOCH) hire me as a (SMOOCH) farmhand.” (SMOOCH) (SMOOCH) (SMOOCH)

His dad didn’t waste anytime listening to the sons apology. As if the son deserved to be his son in the first place. He was son by birth. By no action or deed did the son earn his sonship. He was born, that’s all.

The dad called for his butler and maids. “Quick,” the father exclaimed. “Bring clean clothes, dress him! Put the family ring back on his hand! Put shoes on his feet! Once you’re done with that, get the best heifer we have, kill it and cook it! We are having a party! My son that I thought was dead is alive. He was lost but is now found!” And the party began.

Enter the second son, who had just finished another long hard day out in the field. What does he hear as draws closer to the house? Music and dancing. He called to one of the servants and asked what was going on. The servant informed him about the return of his brother and what he was hearing was the party in his brothers honor. Unlike the dad, the older brother was not as excited.

That’s an understatement, he was livid! The dad came out and tried talking to his son. The son, indignant, exclaimed how faithful he has been and what his disrespectful little brother deserved, which was nothing close to a party.

The dad gently explained, ‘Son, try to understand. You are always with me and everything I have is yours. Be glad. This is a wonderful time. Your brother was dead and is alive! He was lost and now he is found!”

The younger son never got what he deserved. He didn’t do anything to earn his sonship nor his dad’s extravagant forgiveness. It was solely up to his dad.

In the next two blogs, I will be sharing two other stories of things undeserved. I’ll see you next Tuesday!