Your Morning Coffee 03/06/2023
Welcome to your morning coffee! May our Heavenly Father call us away from the peril of performance, and call us closer to Himself. Father, you are near to us. Help us to see you and embrace you and live out of our closeness to you. Lead us in daily repentance, daily worship, and daily obedience. Father, in the name of Jesus, help us to hold tightly on to you, even as we admit that it is your grip that matters. Lead us ever closer to you! Amen!
Your Morning Song: "As the Deer" The Worship Initiative ft. Shane & Shane
Your Morning Scripture: Luke 15 (esp. v. 25-32)
“Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’
“The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’
“‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”
When we do things only for God, and not with God, we are, at best, missing the point of the person of Christ, and instead thinking we are to work our way into the Kingdom of God.
At worst we are the fullness of the wrong son in these verses from Luke 15. Yes, the younger son who demanded his inheritance was treating his father as if he were already dead. But look at the way his older brother acts. How different is he, really? He labors in his father's fields without any thought of intimacy with his father. He is upset at the material cost of welcoming his brother back. It is all he can think about. If it was not, then he would not only have run into the house to celebrate with his family, but he would have been waiting with his father, watching and hoping for his brother's return.
But all he could see was his own inheritance shrinking before his eyes. His younger brother took a portion of his father's wealth. Fine. But now he returned and the feast, the ring, the robe, everything was now coming out of his inheritance. And the ring and the robe signified that the father was making the opposite claim of the younger brother. The prodigal son claimed his inheritance early, treating his father as if he were dead. And now the father welcomes the son back into the family as if he had been dead but was now miraculously alive. He even says this explicitly in the parable.
And all the older brother can see, all he cares about, is that by welcoming him back, the father has made the younger brother an heir again, delightfully dividing his estate. Creating, out of the older brother's single inheritance, two. And for the son who has stayed home and labored, and worked, it seems so unfair. And that is all he can see. I have performed my role. I have done what I was supposed to do. Father, how dare you touch my inheritance! How dare you!
How different is this than the younger brother's early request for his own inheritance? Both brothers treat their father as if he is dead. But only one repents.
The father pleads with his elder son. Your brother is alive! Come and celebrate with us! He was dead and now lives! (Very clearly a reference to the shift in attitude, not physical death, although the two walk closely to each other).
And so too does God plead with us. He pleads with us not to mistake His household for Him. He pleads with us not to mistake the trappings of our religious life, our obedient labors themselves, as Him.
We can go to church and not know God. We can serve in a church and not know God. We can read your bible and pray, and not know God. We can do all manner of things for God, and still not know Him.
What does He desire? He longs to save sinners. He longs to make His enemies (us) into His children. He longs for closeness, nearness, intimacy. He longs for us. And it is a testament to our fallen, broken, sinful flesh that we could make even right religious practices into idols.
Do we ever feel like God owes us for how faithful we've been? Do we ever find ourselves resenting other people in the church? Do we ever feel burned out and bitter at what seems like a lack of attention and blessing from God?
Perhaps we've been laboring in the fields, jealous of our Father's blessings, when our Father, the true blessing Himself, waits and watches for other sons and daughters to cross over from death to life.
May we be a people who think, say, and do with God, and not for.
May we not be a people who lie and say God needs us or owes us.