Please enjoy this excerpt from Bishop Pitts’ newest book, Fault Lines. See below for purchase options!
The Path for Prodigals
Our God is the God of the never-ending chance, not just a second, third, or fourth chance. So, there is always a path for the prodigal. If our sons and daughters are going to come home, we must have a place prepared for them. This place is called restoration. We must learn from the errors of our past and become people who will recognize the gaps when they appear and stand in them.
What are some of the things we see in the life of the prodigal?
- He was wrong (impulsiveness, impatience, and ambition clouded his judgment)
- He disrespected his loving father
- He got what he wanted and left
- He had a season of riotous living
- He joined himself with the wrong crowd
- He didn’t see the famine coming
- He hit absolute bottom
- He finally came to his senses
- He remembered his home
- He decided to go back home
This a complex story, but one I think many of us can relate to at some level. Here is my objective in looking at this well-known piece of Scripture: The father was always ready and prepared to receive his son home.
The son knew the way home. His life-quake had nearly destroyed him. He had built unwisely on a fault line and fell through a gap of his own doing. The only safe place he ever knew was back in his father’s house, where even the servants lived well and at peace. If we are willing and prepared, the Father will draw his prodigal sons and daughters home.
I am against the assassination of prodigals.
What do I mean by this? The father’s celebration when the prodigal returned shows that his heart was not punitive, but redemptive. The father set the tone for the environment in which he wanted his son to be received. The whole household and the older brother were to take their cues from the perspective of the father’s heart. To be clear, there are times when restoration involves a process and measurable progress, giving us the framework for receiving prodigals. Ultimately, though, prodigals will become champions of recognizing gaps and standing in them if we handle the restorative sequence the correct way.
This concept is further exemplified in the account of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet in John 13. After the Last Supper, Jesus took a basin of water and a cloth and began to wash their feet. Peter saw this humble act of service as beneath Jesus, perhaps reasoning that they should be washing His feet, which would seem more spiritually appropriate. The statement Jesus was making was, “If I don’t wash you, you can have no part of Me.” At this point, Simon Peter yielded. Jesus continued, “You don’t know what I’m doing now, but you will understand it later,” adding, “All of you are clean, except one.”
Jesus’ aim was Judas. Judas needed to be cleansed. So, rather than singling him out, embarrassing him, or pointing out his sin, Jesus simply included everyone else. This is the true heart of restoration, Jesus-style.
“If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.”
So much of our ministry of restoration is not public, on the platform, or even publicized by others close to the situation. The example of Jesus is always the best.
For more on the path for prodigal and the process of restoration and redemption, check out Bishop Pitts’ new book, Fault Lines, available here.