Standing at the counter of McDonalds I was totally engrossed in the task of buying food for my hungry family… I looked around at my family and noticed that there was someone missing. My 3 year old son had disappeared… somehow my small son had steeped out through the open door and onto the footpath near a busy street. He was lost! Panic immediately set in…we quickly searched the shop and then onto the street…
Then in the distance I noticed a young woman holding the hand of a small child at a pedestrian crossing and I started to run, ignoring the puzzled looks of onlookers. As I got closer I was able to make out his clothes and his blonde hair and I knew that it was my son – so I ran faster to get to Benji’s side. He was unharmed and was wondering what the fuss was about, but I was so grateful to Benji’s rescuer and so thankful that he was safe I wanted to celebrate, my son had been lost, but now was found and had been returned to his family.
My story predates GPS – it’s amazing how much we rely on GPS now days to help us not get lost. I just saw a program that described a new type of watch that has been developed with GPS so that parents know where their children are all times. However, today, rather than relying on GPS (global positioning systems), I want to suggest that we need to rely on God’s Positioning System or God’s Plan of Salvation, that is spelled out for us in his word. God’s GPS helps us know the way home to the Father, no matter what circumstance we find ourselves in.
I’m pretty good at directions, so I find getting lost pretty hard to do – but for other’s it comes naturally…getting or feeling lost can be purely an accident, but for others it is a consequences of our choices. Luke 15:11b-32 tells us there was a certain wilfulness about the prodigal’s choices to reject the benefits of his home; to take his inheritance and to seek out his own fame and fortune in a land far removed from the place of his birth. It’s a well-known parable…the son spends his entire inheritance and is left with nothing…totally off the radar.
It’s at the bottom of the pit, plagued by hunger and despair that the young man has a revelation…the life of a servant in his father’s house is better than the ‘freedom’ he was experiencing and in that moment he turns on the GPS and begins the painful journey home, rehearsing his words of repentance with each step. Unbeknown to him, his father has been looking out for him every day – praying for his safe return; and when he sees him on the horizon, he puts aside decorum and runs out to embrace his smelly, rebellious son. In that moment of embrace all is forgiven and grace is extended…the son that was lost – is reunited with his father and reconnected with his destiny. The money spend was small price to pay for the transformation of the son…and the father throws a party.
The bible says that God throws a party every time a repentant sinner returns home. Every time we activate God’s GPS, God embraces us with joy, forgiveness and grace and treats as his daughters and sons. It’s a message that doesn’t get old – because it is central part of God’s Salvation Plan. My hope is that you will wake up and see what you are missing and start the journey home.