“I’ve always wanted to be a Christian, but I didn’t know how.”
Acuff, I thought to myself, if you blow this you shouldn’t be a pastor.
Tell me about your experience up to this point, I said. The woman sitting across from me had visited the church a few Sundays earlier and had made an appointment to talk.
Her story surprised me.
She had been married to a pastor.
He had some issues, like with cocaine, growing marijuana in the parsonage, and sleeping with other women. So, she took the kids and left him, never telling the church leaders what their pastor was doing.
What do you think it means to be a Christian? I asked her.
This time her answer didn’t surprise me.
“Being a good person,” she said. “But, I never felt good enough.”
How easy it is to miss the true meaning of Jesus’ message – the gospel. This Sunday, we conclude our series on The Prodigal God and our focus on this famous story that Jesus told, found in Luke 15.
The gospel always leads to a feast, a banquet. Not a test.
People fail tests. Or worse, according to Jesus. Some people think that they have passed and that God owes them.
I explained to the woman about the real nature of sin and our need for God’s grace and forgiveness.
“That makes me feel like a failure,” she said.
I’ll never forget her face when I laughed and said – you got it! That’s the only qualification!
This Sunday we learn how to find our place at the table – the feast of the Father.
The paradox? Only lost peole find their way home.