Good Monday Morning, Cherished Friends,
I once heard a story about a man who got a second notice from the Internal Revenue Service. The notice carried dire threats of fines and jail sentences, everything you could imagine except that of being shot. The man hurried to the office, paid up immediately and then said, “I would have paid sooner, but I didn’t get your first notice.” The tax collector said, “Oh, we’ve run out of first notices. Besides, we find that second notices are much more effective.”
I think the Federal Government knows that little, if anything, continues in this world without some follow-up. If you’re a homeowner, you know that. We always have to spend some time and money on our homes to protect them against the ravages of time.
Now, transfer this thought over into a slightly different area. God created humanity and set us on our course. The symbolism of the story in the Garden of Eden is that man and woman, in the beginning, were in harmony with their environment and their Creator. But endowed with choice and surrounded by the persistent pressures of evil, humanity lost its way. That story is in the first pages of the Bible. But the rest of this book is the record of God’s attempt to help us find our way again. Or, as the theologians would say it, the record of God’s redemptive acts among us.
The Bible reports this sequence: First, there was the Law; and we mean by this the Ten Commandments and all the derivatives. Then came the prophets, God’s spokesmen, declaring the way. You remember Jeremiah walking among his people saying, “This the way; walk ye in it.” And finally, there was Jesus. Here God not only spoke to human beings through words, but through the living revelation of His own nature in the life of a person. And Jesus Christ remains alive in the world as a continuing witness to the Way.
If God is a loving Father, then it follows with some logic that a loving Father would care for His children, that He would make any sacrifices and go to any lengths to reclaim His lost and wayward sons and daughters.
When I was much younger, I remember hearing the story about a boy who ran away from home. He was gone for a long time. But months later, the family heard from the boy. He was far away but was ready to come home. Wondering if his family wanted him back after the trouble and anxiety, he had caused them, he told his father in a telegram that, if he wanted his son to get off the train, to tie a sheet to a corn stalk in their field. Later, as the train neared his hometown, a lump swelled up in the boy’s throat as he saw sheets tied to every stalk of corn in that field.
As a loving Father, God loves His children no matter where they are, and will go to the limit to demonstrate and prove that love.
God’s abiding presence is always among us,
Bruce Jones, Pastor Imagine Church