We conclude the series on parenthood with a few thoughts on how to deal with the strays – the children (or adult children) in our lives who wander. This message is based on Luke 15.11-32, and (updated!) you can listen to the audio recording, or watch the Facebook video feed below.
The Amber Alert has been around for quite a long time now, but it has become better known and more effective since social media has become so ubiquitous. Now, not only do we seek Amber Alerts scrolling across our television screens, we see them on changeable highway signs, and all over Facebook and Twitter.
An Amber Alert issued this week for a little girl from Alberta, sadly, ended tragically, with the little girl having been found dead. More often than not, though, Amber Alerts work quite effectively.
Every time I see an Amber Alert, I am reminded that God has one of these out for every human being who is not in relationship with him.
Did you ever think about it that way?
When we are far from God, God puts out an Amber Alert for us, seeking to have us returned to his care safely and quickly. Trouble is, not everyone responds to this right away. Some never respond at all.
But faithful followers of Jesus can play an important role in seeing people respond to the Amber Alert that has been set out by God for them. Our own witness, our own testimony of God’s goodness toward us, can draw people back to their Creator, back to the One who gave us all life.
How will you help a friend who is far from God respond to the Amber Alert he has put out for your friend? Every kind word, every God-given moment, can afford you the opportunity to help lead someone Safely Home.
Jesus told a story about a young man who wandered away from home. “When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger! I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.”’
“So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.’
“But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found’” (Luke 15.17-24, NLT).
That’s the Father who puts out an Amber Alert for us all.