Frequently I get caught up in the mundane aspects of life: waking early, going off to a 9-5 job, cooking, cleaning, paying bills, … rinse, repeat. I lose track of the important aspects of life and my purpose. I become too concerned with the temporal aspects of life and things of the world. I forget my greater purpose. I neglect to enjoy life and the blessings that God has granted me, and all of us.
Why do I do this? Why do I strive for things of this world when I know that they are passing away? Why do I too often hang my head low in exhaustion or disappointment?
Is the Christian life primarily a set of rules, “do-s and don’t-s” followed by shame and judgment and self-flagellation? Is that the way God intended the Christian life to be? I think not!
In the fifteenth chapter of the Gospel of Luke, Jesus presents three parables: the Lost Sheep, the Lost Coin, and the Prodigal Son. In each parable, something is lost (a sheep, a coin, and a son) and then later found.
One sheep out of a flock of one hundred is lost. The shepherd searches diligently to find the one lost sheep. One of ten silver coins is lost, and the possessor searches diligently until she finds her missing silver coin. A son denies his family and runs off to a wayward lifestyle. After having squandered his inheritance, he returns penniless and with little hope, yet his father runs to greet and embrace his son.
All three parables conclude with celebration.
He calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Luke 15:6
She calls together her friends and neighbors, saying ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ Luke 15:9
… let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to celebrate. Luke 15:23b-24
In these three parables, Jesus repeats the same point for emphasis. There is great rejoicing in the Kingdom of God. It is a good thing that an individual returns to the Father. Christians should primarily be about the business of seeking out the lost and restoring them to the Father. This is our purpose and when achieved, a cause for celebration!
The Christian life is about celebration! Celebrate that lost people can be found. Celebrate that the Father runs with open arms to a child who was lost and now returns home. Celebrate the immense blessings we enjoy!
This celebration is not a just once in a lifetime event but a daily celebration. Each day we must return to the Father and feel His warm embrace. Each day is a gift and we must celebrate it!
The very simple childhood hymn expresses what our attitude as Christians should be each day:
This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24
Rejoice and celebrate today! It is our inheritance as Christians!
What do you think? What can you do today to celebrate as part of God’s Kingdom? Who needs to hear this message of hope – that God is waiting with open arms to welcome you home?