Monday, October 24, 2011

Moving On From Here

Luke 15:18-24
18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,
19 And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.
20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.
21 And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.
22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:
23 And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:
24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.

Moving on From Here

I love the story of the prodigal son. It applies in so many areas of life...our own lives...definitely my life.

This weekend, I was in Ohio joining in the celebration honoring the pastor of my home church. He's retiring as pastor after 42 years. Not from ministry, but as pastor of Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church in Newark, Ohio.

The gathering had the atmosphere of a reunion. Many of us who had attended a nearby college attended this church when we were students. I was baptized there. Most of the membership has been at the church for years, but some of us just passed through. Many of us stayed in touch even though we had moved to other places.
So here we all were, gathered and hugging, sharing stories and exchanging addresses. I had lived in Newark for a while after graduation. I became godmother to a baby girl while I was there. Then, after I moved, I had lost track of her and her mother. I was recalling this episode at the table, when I said 'Someone needs to point out Sidney to me'. The young woman standing behind me said 'I'm Sidney'.

In that instant, I knew everything I had done wrong in my assignment as her godmother. Here stood this lovely young woman, about to start her own education. I had done what I could when I was close, but when I moved away, and communication got complicated, I had just let her slip away.

But, in Christ, there is a here and a now.

Like the son in the story, I can't make up for what has passed. I wouldn't even want to try. But, what I can do is admit my shortcomings, pick up and move on.

This is the forgivness Jesus paid for. They kind of forgiveness that is readily available and needs only be received. He never says 'now, go back and relive your life without mistakes'. He says only, go and sin no more. All the rights and priviledges and yes, responsibilities of relationship are always just on the other side of forgiveness. They have to be received, not earned.

We know that we reap what we sow. But that doesn't mean we cannot be forgiven. Whatever it is that stands between us and the life God intends is only accepting forgiveness away.

Will you receive the forgivness that's been so lovingly attained for you?

I found my goddaughter. My responsibilities to her are just as real today as they were 18 years ago when I held her in my arms and promised to see to her wellbeing and her life in Christ. I look forward to moving on from here.

I also look forward to you moving on from there, wherever that is for you. Receive the forgivness of Christ and go forward. Directions available at charge.

Philippians 3:13-14

13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

No matter where we are, we can always go forward in Christ.

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Fellowship Church
Where Passions Become Reality
Because You Are a Chosen Generation

455 Highway 138 W, STE C
Jonesboro, GA 30236
Alton Watkins, Pastor