Friday, June 01, 2012
Return of the Prodigal Son
I've been spending some time reading through "The Return of the Prodigal Son" by Henri Nouwen. It's been quite a joy. I've liked Nouwen for some time now; he just seems to speak to aspects of my heart directly--as though my issues were his and vice versa, and he has a special ability to bring all this stuff before Calvary.
One thing in particular he wrote hit me this morning. He was recalling a conversation he had with a friend. Nouwen had been going through a period in which he was trying to decide whether he was the younger or older son. Was he more rebellious and wayward? Was he more proud and demanding? His answer, to no surprise, was yes. Both.
This friend, though, said, "Whether you are the younger son or the elder son, you have to realize that you are called to become the father."
This sent him into a tizzy and has hit me fairly heavily this morning. See, I am not compassionate by default. Even cordial consideration for others is not something that is easy for me. However it happened growing up, I just developed a position regarding the world and others that was all focused on myself. It's all about me, I am the master of my domain and the ruler of my universe. I am the person that needs pleasing. I am the one that matters.
So, when I became a Christian, one of the toughest things to outgrow has been my tendency to just completely overlook others. Wierd? I'm not sure I'm so rare. But I do know that I just find in my heart the tendency to still be Bart-centered. Rarely do I think about how to best love and serve others.
The key there may be simply that I don't think about it. Huge portions of my life, currently, are dedicated to others--whether it be loving on two young kids that have little to offer in return, or pouring my life out with and for students that need to hear about the message of Christ--I know that God, through the Holy Spirit does love others through me regularly. But oh how I wish my love for others was more perfected and consistent!
God, I desire to be like you in all things. I desire to be the Father in the story of the prodigal son. It is for this we were made; to shepherd, love, protect, and embrace the hurting people in the world around us. Mold me into this. Make me the kind of person that forsakes all for the sake of you. Let others experience your deep love and care for them through me.