I was sitting at the dinner table with new friends, when Tata not realizing I would understand her Bisaya said to Grace, “She will preach in the morning.” Without even thinking, I said, “Tudlo lang!” (Teaching only.) Tata laughed, surprised I understood, and basically said, “Sure, if that makes you feel better.”
I will admit the line between preaching and teaching is sometimes a fuzzy one. So we’ll just say I ‘spoke.’ And I spoke in between singing and an offertory. And yes, it does make me feel better to say I spoke, instead of preached. Besides, I am not sure that 15 minutes of speaking can qualify as a sermon. (When I finished the pastor looked at his watch and then at the person leading music and said, but it is not time yet.) I had warned Tata that I was not good at talking for long amounts of time… she thought I was joking.
Anyway this is what I said give or take some…
There was a man who had two sons; one day one of the sons went to his father and said, I want my inheritance now. It was as though he had said, “Good greif, since you won’t die already, give me your money so I can live like you are.”
The father did as the son had requested, giving him his share of the inheritance. The son went from his father’s house to a far away city and spent the entire sum of his inheritance. He spent all the money his father had given him in his own sinful and wicked desires. When his friends realized that he spent all his money they deserted him. They had not loved him, they had loved his money. He was alone.
He hired himself out to a man in the country. One day the man sent him out to feed his pigs. The son, stared at the pig food. He was consumed with hunger. He stared at the pig food, so consumed with hunger that he was not thinking for himself. His hunger controlled his thoughts, his desperation made the pig food look appetizing. And than, the Bible says, “he came to his senses.” I can imagine him shaking his head, clearing his brain, wondering to himself “How did I come this low? Why, the SERVANTS in my father’s house have plenty of bread to eat. Why am I standing here starving?”
He began his journey home. He planned to tell his father that although he had sinned against heaven and earth, that he was no longer worthy to be his son- that he would work as his servant.
While he was still a great distance from the house, his father saw him coming. The Bible says, the father felt compassion on his son. He rejoiced. He ran to him. He embraced him.
The son said, “”Father I have sinned against heaven and before you, I am no longer worthy to be called your son.”
The father responded by speaking to the servants, “Bring the best robe, and put it on him! Put a ring on his hand! Put shoes on his feet! Bring a fattened calf! Let us celebrate. My son was dead but now he lives. He was lost but is now found.”
This is a story of salvation. We are the son, we have sinned against heaven and each other. We live as though we deserve God’s blessings but want no part in a relationship with the giver.
And than at some point we have been brought ourselves so low that we stared at pig food longingly. And than by God’s grace we came to our senses. And we had been looking at with such longing we saw for what it was. Trash. Pig’s food. Sin. Wickedness.
And we went God, and we repented. We told him, “I have sinned against heaven and before you.” And the beautiful thing is that he had been watching for us from a distance. And while we were still sinners, he had sent his son to die for us. So that when we came to our senses, and realized the weight of our sin all we had to do was cry out to Jesus.
And that is my motivation for missions. I am in the Philippines, not because my love is great; but because my Father’s love is great.
Missions is not a work of a few, but of the whole body. It is not the responsibility of the workers, but a way of living for all of God’s people.
Our changed life is our testimony to the Father’s love. It is our continual turning away from sin that God uses to shine his light through us. Our behavior is a demonstration to people about God’s expectations.
This family of God is not just for you. It is meant to grow. My challenged for you is this: Do not forget your sinfulness. Remember the price of your salvation and live for God. Do not wait to serve God, serve him now. Help those that are staring at pig food see the truth of their lives. Tell them that Jesus is the way the truth and the life.
If you can not think of anyone that is trapped in sin, staring at pig food, get out of your Christian bubble. Go to the fields. The lost are dying. The Father is waiting for his children to come home...don't you want to be part of that rejoicing?