12/5/17 Martin and Dave mid-20's
I met two “prodigal sons” on the same stretch of sidewalk 2 days apart. First there was Martin. Then two days later, there was Dave. Both in their mid-20’s, on their way into the workout gym. Both from strong church families and Christian upbringing. Yet, like the Prodigal Son in Jesus’ parable, both had somehow forgotten the loving heavenly Father they had known about as children.
Both Martin and Dave had responded to my question about what happens after we die with vague references to reincarnation and karma. They hadn’t really adopted another religion, but they sure had drifted from an awareness of God’s presence in their daily lives, both in holding us accountable and in holding us in His loving arms.
I talked with both for a half hour or so, and during that time it was fun to see them warm up to our conversation and to God as memories of Bible stories and past experiences came flooding back.
In His parable, Jesus describes the younger son as “coming to his senses” after realizing his worldly fun was falling apart now that his money was spent. I believe what brought him to his senses, though, was not just his empty stomach but its comparison to his memories of a loving Father, and the reassurance that he would be accepted the minute he turned into the driveway.
Many gospel conversations on the streets go this way as people who are caught up in their worldly pursuits are suddenly reminded of long-neglected memories of their church upbringing and the Bible stories they were once familiar with. These unexpected reminders may not be enough to “bring them to their senses”, as they may not yet be at a point of desperation from the world. But sooner or later the world will fail them, and maybe then they will be reminded of the Father’s love that will not only accept them, but like the father in the parable, will run out to them, throw his arms around them, have a feast and celebrate their return.