Wednesday, July 8, 2009

ONE THING is needed - The Father's Love

I am very caught up with work recently.
So bad, that I had no chance of having that weekly breakfast session with my mom and dad.

A few months back, a brother challenged me to honour my parents in a very different way. Lately, I’m spending more time with them than I had ever been. And I’ve also been supplying them much more than I did before. Since then, I could see grace infecting my parents! Haha… Hallelujah!

But I was shocked even more a few days ago.
I was supposed to go shopping with my parents – they have been asking me to get new clothes... My waist is not on clothing terms with my current clothes (LOL and yes I know I need to cut back on food).

I was shocked to wake up on Tuesday and my mom asking me to put on a new shirt. Obviously me being me – grumbled. Then my mom told me that my dad took the trouble – travelling down town, walked around shopping malls and got new clothing for me. And to top it up, he used ALL THE MONEY I gave him for his monthly expenses on it. I was blown away.

As much as I thought I could show my love to my dad, he showed me God’s love in a glorious manner.

That very day I drove to work, that whole event made me think deep about the way Father God gave us His Son.

It was that same all or nothing scenario…
And in the same way, God gave all he had.
That beautiful relationship the Father and Jesus had – which God the Father proclaims over all the earth - This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased (Matthew 3:17). That relationship – God’s cherished possession.

That bond of love lies broken at the cross where Jesus who had always been calling God as his ‘Father’ felt that separation – which for the first time, He could only look up and call God as eloi - Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani (Matthew 27:46).

Not only did it hurt Jesus – the crown of thorns, 40 minus 1 lashes, and the cross..
But it hurt the Father to have that broken fellowship with the Son.

As the Michael Card ‘Love Crucified Arose’ song goes – the Father turned His face away… Such a very act, that contradicts His very loving nature – must have been the hardest thing to do… But it was done because justice was required when each and every sin of ours fell on Jesus – the shroud of darkness covered Jesus from the Father’s eyes. Such was the agony Christ had to suffer – so did the Father…

I imagine when the prodigal son left his father’s household; the father would have suffered – not because his wealth was reduced but because the fellowship and relationship is broken. Out of the love for that son, he gave into his request. He withheld the hands that demand the condemnation and stoning of such a son (Deut 21:18-21). The father would probably sink down on the floor and cried behind closed doors.

It did not hurt him to lose his possessions as much as it hurt him to lose his son…

But when we come back to God. We can either live like the elder brother (who despite being a son, considered himself worthy to be a servant, and miss what God wants for him – despite everything that is the father is his). He missed the point when he thinks he can find favour from his father by serving and serving.

Or we can live like the repented son, who despite wanting to become a servant just for food; finds a robe of righteousness, a ring of sonship, a sandal of redemption and a fattened calf waiting for him – not to mention a father who RAN and embrace him. That broken fellowship is restored, and now, much closer than before.

And between the two, it is clear that through that the servanthood attitude of the elder brother caused the blessing of the firstborn to go to the second.

You can only live either by grace or by law.

For me, I choose to live by grace, not like Martha who wants to give her best, but like Mary – who receives the best at the feet of Jesus – that ONLY one thing that is needed (Luke 10:42).

Yes, there is a place for ministry, but not in the manner that Martha was serving.

Today, I look at the shirts my dad gave to me, and I could see such power of the Gospels in what my dad has done. And how much he has taught me about his love for me and the love God the Father has for me.

And that makes me love both of them more! I wouldn’t call myself the best son in the world. I still feel very much that I fall short in many areas. But by grace, I am being renewed every day!

And it is by knowing the love of the Father that grace can abound much more!

Logically, I should be ashamed, but I am not - because I realised what it cost him to make such a sacrifice. In the same way, when I realised all the more what God has done for me (and I assure you that you may think you know, but it is very different when it really sinks in), the more I am not ashamed about the Gospel - and the grace that is in it...

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