DALLAS, TX – The biblical narrative of Luke 15:11-32 is a stirring story, even for a broken heart. However, I want to re-examine this passage and glean some biblical truths about it for anyone who may be like myself – in a storm and don’t know how it will end.
FIRST, STAY ON THE PORCH
The Father in this story did something that I should have done. He stayed on the porch and in the confines of his home and community. The father did not travel in his own car or purchase airline tickets at his expense, rent a car, or get hotel rooms – he simply stayed put on the porch. I have learned the painful lesson that you can’t reach out to everyone. I have learned that reaching out may sometimes be even more dangerous than it is to do nothing. Time is not a healer in some cases, it’s a time-bomb waiting for the right opportunity to go off. Staying on the porch means you concentrate on the people who are in your own home and workspace instead of trying to inflict yourself upon those who do not want relationship. In the future, I’m staying on the porch. As was pointed out to me, the Father never left His throne in glory, He SENT Jesus Christ.
SECONDLY, KEEP LIVING WHILE ON THE PORCH
There is no record within scripture that the father’s crops went to ruin; that he lost his relationship with locals or his church community or even damaged relationships with his other son and family members. Sometimes those who choose to hurt you think that they will be a disruption to daily activity – no so. You’ve got to keep on living while on the porch. You have to keep moving through the pain; You have to keep eating; You have to keep your hygeine and health; You have to keep your sense of humor; You have to keep on moving, in spite of loss or separation. I’ve buried my share of friends, family and church members – but, there is always the same testimony – the survivors kept on living until they died. I’ve decided, in my pain, to keep on living.
Perhaps the problem most people have with storms is that they have the potential of creating paralysis. It affects the central nervous system of the heart, mind and spirit and you begin the process of accleration of the death process. You have to keep living – no matter how painful it is. You have to keep going to church – even if you just lost your job, your health, your family, your money – you have to keep serving God until He calls your name.
THIRDLY, DON’T LOOK FOR IT
There is a profound and personal sense of reality to this story. I’ve heard it preached (incorrectly) that the father knew the exact timing so that’s while he was on the porch. Not so, it caught him by surprise, so much so that when the events unfolded, he did something outside of his culture – he ran. Older men don’t run. However, I have found myself amplifying his resolve into my own – I’m not looking for that miracle anymore. I am not going to invest another dime, another hour, another prayer, another hope, another moment – God has spoken. He has told me it won’t happen, it will never happen, and in the words of Dr. Asa W. Sampson, Sr., I’m going to “go on and on and on and on. And on and on and on and on.” I have to yield myself to God to make the same benediction that this farmer made in verse 24 part a. You have to consider some things and some people as dead and move on.
I refuse to go to the graveyard and look for a resurrection. I’m going to stay on my porch. Stay in my lane. Worship God, love my wife Jessica and family, continue to love on my Mom in her latter days, continue to love on and be thankful for my nephews and my generation of great-neices and nephews, thank God for my friends, love on and serve my First Baptist church members, hug my cat Coco, help build up my Kentucky State Convention of the PNBC, work with the General Association of Baptists in Kentucky and PNBC, preach across the nation, begin some international travel, pick up a few new hobbies, lose some weight, keep on avoiding sodas, start the process of eliminating breads and sugars from my diet, pray more, give more, strengthen my fellowship with my friends and former church members from the past, get ready for the final chapters of my life, produce two e-books before Christmas.
Oh and by the way, I’m staying on the porch, permanently.