The focus of the Father

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Now if Jesus were here I think we’d find Him today

Down at Johnny’s Cafe.

This, of course, is the punchline of the song, and the whole point of it. Get yourself down to Johnny’s Cafe because that’s where the Lord is. We were reminded yesterday that the heart of God is where the lost sheep are, not with those who are already in the fold. “There is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!” (Luke 15:7). This is the heart of God. The heart of God is with the lost — the sinners in need of a savior.

After telling the story about the lost sheep, Jesus went on to tell about a woman who had ten coins and lost one of them. She tore her house apart until she found it and when she did, she called in her friends and neighbors to help her celebrate. And Jesus equated this joy with the joy in heaven over even one lost sinner being found. Once again, God’s heart is focused on the lost.

And finally, there’s the famous story of the prodigal son whom the Father greets with open arms and a grand celebration. He was waiting for his son. He had heard he might be coming home and all his attentions were concentrated on that road up to his house. He was intent on welcoming home his lost son. He wanted to be the first to see the whites of his eyes.

Jesus told these three parables back to back to drive home what was in the heart of God. He also wanted the Pharisees to see that they were precisely not the point. The 99 sheep safely tucked away in the fold, the 9 coins in the woman’s coin purse, and the elder son, who always stayed with the Father and had access to all that was his … these are all important, but they are not the focus of the Father. The focus of the Father is on that which has been lost.

Knowing this, what should be our attitude toward the world? The lost are more important than those who have already been found. If the heart of God is focused on the lost, where should our hearts be? With the folks down at Johnny’s Cafe. The focus is not on the family; it’s on the lost.

For too long the focus of Christians has been on Christians. We’ve got a whole culture of people set aside to be a society unto ourselves. Our focus has been on making the world come to embrace our values rather than to be embracing those who need to be saved. Time to get our attention centered on the lost. Time to get our hearts in line with the Father’s heart.

“Look, dear son, you have always stayed by me, and everything I have is yours. We had to celebrate this happy day. For your brother was dead and has come back to life! He was lost, but now he is found!” Luke 15:31-32

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2 Responses to The focus of the Father

  1. Mike says:

    Even as a retired teacher I’m up early, mostly to feed our cats, I usually have breakfast around 7:30 am. So this morning the Catch arrived early, I had breakfast with you. It was finding a long lost friend waiting to talk to me. Recently I posted a photo of my cousins and me at a memorial service for my grandmother in a Buddhist church. One of my high school classmates observed that the photo was in a Buddhist temple, asked me if I was Buddhist and gave me a lengthy story on how studying Buddhism helped her. I answered that I was a Baptist minister and gave a one sentence testimony.. She replied how she was an atheist and didn’t believe in God misquoting the scripture and basically defending her belief. I told her I wasn’t questioning what she believe and that she was still hurting at her husbqnd’s passing. She said I was making assumptions about her. She so much wants to see her husband but in her faith there is no hope of that happening. There are so many of us baby boomers who have never examined the words of Jesus instead of a filtered version though others and our culture or well meaning Christians. I’m there John, out in the world, quietly trying to be light in the darkness. This is especially tough with the largest group I hang around with, musicians! Just finished my coffee, have a good day!

  2. John A Fagliano says:

    The heart of the Father is His love for all human beings. The lost and found alike. If the other son had been the one to leave while his bother stayed home the story would have been the same. When we don’t identify with the lost, we can’t picture God running to embrace us.

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