Each month I cook a big pot of spaghetti sauce for our “Spaghetti & Western”. This is a guy’s night of good food, wholesome entertainment, and fellowship. Over the years I have learned how to make some tasty spaghetti sauce and in doing so I learned the virtue of “slow cooking”. The longer I let the delicious ingredients bubble together, the tastier the outcome. Over these months my expertise has shifted from the microwave to the slow cooker.
This ‘slow cooking’ concept is finding its way, more and more, into other aspects of ministry. In the past I have systematically taught my way through Bible books. I spent a year and a half teaching on the Gospel of Luke. I believe this is the gospel for the ‘outsider’ and fit our little fellowship. I just finished a systematic study of Romans, which took quite some time. Now we are planning to ‘sit’ with Luke 15:11 – 31, “The Story of the Prodigal Son” or “The Story of the Loving Father”. We plan to ‘sit’ in this passage until we get it! I am determined not to stop just because we got to verse 31, if we haven’t experienced transformation.
Charles Dickens said that this was “greatest short story” ever created, and I believe he is right. It is the greatest short story because it is our story! We have all like sheep gone astray! The questions the son asks are our questions. The ‘awakenings’ he experiences on his journey back to the father are the very ones we experience in our journey back to our Father. More than this though, it is His story! The tale of the father is the tale of our father. I believe this ‘greatest story’ deserves more than an expository study.
We are going to settle down with this story until we are firmly convinced that we have made the journey fully back to God. We are going to settle into this passage until we can confidently act as ‘tour guides’ in others’ journeys back to the Father.
I am grateful for the study material “Finding Your Way Back to God” by Jon and David Ferguson. We will probably not move through it as quickly as is prescribed. I don’t know how long it will take but I want to ‘slow cook’ this.
The first awakening of the son is “There has to be more to life than this.” Our hero expresses a dissatisfaction that ultimately leads to new heights of intimacy with his father. We join him in this holy dissatisfaction. We do not want to remain a welfare or ‘recipient’ community. We want to know fully our place as daughters and sons of God and to be people with gifts serving. We want to move from the “give me” mentality to the “make me mentality”.
I don’t know how long this journey is. This “Word” is a lamp unto our feet so we only see a step or two with our minds eye, but with “eyes of faith” we see our Father waiting and beckoning us on.
I am grateful for the folks whose generosity has made the purchase of these materials possible.