The Prodigals

Have you ever heard the Bible story of the lost son, also known as the prodigal. It is one of my favorites. You can find it in the book of Luke, chapter 15. A man had two sons. The younger one asks his dad for his inheritance, packs up and moves away to a distant land. He proceeds to waste all the money and finds himself so destitute that he ends up working for a pig farmer. He is so hungry that even the pig slop looks good. He realizes the pigs are eating better than he is. As he takes stock of his life, it occurs to him that the servants in his dad’s house are eating better than he is so he decides to go home and ask if he can be a servant for his dad. While he is still a distance away, his father, who has been diligently watching for him since he left, sees him and welcomes him home. Dad is ecstatic and throws a party to celebrate. He declares, “My son was dead and has now returned to life.” As the party gets underway, the older brother who has been working in the field finds out that this brother of his has returned and gets upset about the celebration, refusing to come inside. The dad seeks him out and talks to him, explaining that they had to celebrate, because his brother was lost but now is found.

There are those we know who have gotten off their path. Maybe they were active in church and had a working faith previously but have lost touch. Maybe they stayed home because of Covid and need an invitation to come back to services. Father is missing them. It's time to call the prodigals back home. We need to go after them, contact them, be proactive. But keep this one thing in mind, we are not here to judge why they haven’t been in church. We are to here to love them, right where they are. Send a text or call them. Drop a DM! Hit them up! It's our responsibility to bring them back. Here is your script: “We miss you. We need you. We love you.” Love heals. That's what brings people back into fellowship and ultimately into God’s presence. Letting them know we love them will draw them. God puts people in our life on purpose, for a purpose. We're better together. Tell them that they make church better. THEY make a difference. They matter.

There will be a multitude of reasons why people drop off and are not at church. It’s up to us to show them how much we care. We want to be an oasis of love. When people know we care, it lights a fire in them. The closest thing to the heart of God is taking an interest in people. Ephesians 6:8 tells us that whatever we make happen for others, God will make happen for us. Caring for people means we are responsible for what we say to them and how we say it. Lift Jesus up and He will draw people. But, if you cause people to get off course, Scripture says it's better for you not to have been born. On the other hand, there is nothing more pleasing to God than for one who has been lost to be found. Just think of how you would feel if someone rescued a child of yours. If you helped my son out or saved him from harm, I would be your friend forever. God values His children’s rescue even more! Leave the 99. We get focused on who is at church. We fellowship and enjoy those who show up. This is good, but who is not at church this week? What about the one? Where are they? Who is not at church that should have been? Go after the person. Don't leave them alone. They may not respond. but keep trying. You're planting a seed. God’s mercy is greater than any mistake or any point of separation they may have experienced. At some point, the seed you have planted will spring to life. Don’t give up on them. God never gave up on you. God is for you. Make sure they know God is for them too. “We miss you. We need you. We love you.” It's not our job to scare the hell out of them. It is our job to tell them the good news. Get the salt out of the shaker. Spread the good flavor of God around to these who are missing. They may be in a mess but love them in it and love them through it. God will make the soil of their heart soft. You just have to plant the seed. Then He will do the work. Go get the prodigal.
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