Wednesday, September 12, 2012


I'm in the middle of my devotional time right now, so this will be short but I had to post it anyways. I just finished the first chapter of "Becoming a Contagious Christian" by Bill Hybels and Mark Mittelberg for the Excel group in leading tomorrow on campus. The entire book is how to have a faith that makes you so on fire for God that it's contagious to others - obviously, based on the title. The first chapter talks a lot about Luke 15, where Jesus tells three parables to the people in an attempt to get His point across. First, that the shepherd that lost his sheep searched high and low to find it, being overjoyed when he did. Second, that the widow who lost a coin tore her entire home upside down to find it, telling all of her friends when she did. Third, the man whose son took his inheritance and left, wasting it and eventually coming home for forgiveness, ran to find his son and threw a huge block party for everyone when he came home. What's the significance here?
Hybels and Mittelberg say in the first chapter that this is the only example in the entire Bible where Jesus tells three stories to get His point across. Obviously, this is something way important to Him - naturally. But why?
In every example, there are three major points:

  • In each example, something of great value was missing to the main character, whether it was a sheep, coin, or a son. We are the "something" that is missing to God. We matter. We have value in His eyes.
  • The thing missing was important enough to warrant an all-out search. God will stop at nothing to make us find Him.
  • At the end of each parable, the main character was so overjoyed that they rejoiced. God throws a party every time one of us is found in Him.
After I finished the chapter in the book, I picked up my Bible and started reading where I had left off the last time I read, in Acts 11. While Luke 15 is well and good, the significance didn't really hit me until I saw this:
"But the voice answered a second time from heaven, 'What God has made clean, do not call common.'" Acts 11:17
Yes, this isn't directly related to Luke 15, but to me, it was. While I had heard the Luke 15 stories a million times, even after today they never really hit me. Yes, I matter to God, and yes, He loves when I come home to him.
But what does that really mean? All of my past, my sins, my mistakes and shames, are wiped away. Okay. I was dirty. But to God, they don't exist. They're gone - wiped clean. What was made clean - me - is something that no one can ever call common.
Can you say with honesty that you feel like you're made clean, and not common? That you know you matter? Read and try to think about Luke 15 in a different light. It may change your mind.
Are you in?


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