Several years ago, I attended the Catalyst Convention in Atlanta where I had an opportunity to hear many speakers talking about various aspects of leadership. The convention is hosted by Andy Stanley, one of my favorite speakers, and though the conference is church focused, the content is good for any kind of leadership role.
During the conference that year, Judah Smith spoke one evening, and gave one of the most powerful representations of the story of the Prodigal son that I have ever seen. He talked in raw detail about some of the ways in which the young man squandered his fathers money, and the various sins he committed and how messy he was; how when he returned home; and he talked about how his father ran to him while he was a long way off – and welcomed him with open arms – he didn’t wait for him to come home and get showered and clean himself up – he was just so excited that he returned home – he knew there would be time to really clean him up later, but wanted to have a party to celebrate his return right away.
Just as the angels in Heaven rejoice over one sinner returned home, so should we! Often, however, in our churches, we are more judgmental, making those who have returned home feel unwelcome, look down on them when they falter. On the contrary, we need to understand that our path hasn’t been a straight one either, and offer to help them along the way, not to judge them if/when they stumble.
What must I do to come home?
Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were acutely distressed and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “What should we do, brothers?” 38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and each one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and your children, and for all who are far away, as many as the Lord our God will call to himself.”
If you are far away today, Know that there is a Father waiting to throw a party for your return. Know that there are people willing to help you on your journey, to help you clean yourself up.
Be blessed my friends.