Evan stretched his neck and peered around the people in front of him. A teenager named Brad was on the platform. He had just spoken, confessing that he had strayed from the Lord but had now come back. He said God had forgiven him, and he asked the congregation to forgive him too.
"Praise the Lord!" said Pastor Kerns, putting an arm around Brad's shoulders. "Brad attended our church as a boy, and it was here that he accepted Jesus as his Savior. Let's celebrate his homecoming!" When people stood and began clapping, Evan wrinkled his nose and slid down in the pew. Why all this fuss for Brad? he wondered. I heard he joined a gang. He looked over and saw Mom glaring at him, so he quickly stood up.
That afternoon, Mom brought it up during lunch. "You liked Brad a lot when you were younger," she said. "I thought you'd be glad to see him back at church, but I noticed you didn't want to stand up this morning and celebrate his return to the Lord. Why was that?"
"He joined a gang, didn't he?" asked Evan. "Isn't that bad?" He shrugged. "I know Brad says he's sorry, but...I don't know. I just don't get why everyone's making such a big deal over it."
"Well, let me try to help you understand," said Mom. "Let's see. Remember that puppy that appeared at our door not too long ago?"
Evan smiled. "Sure. He was wearing a tag, so you called his owners. But I wish we could have kept him--he was so cute!"
"When his owners came for him, how did they treat him?" asked Mom. "Were they angry? Did they scold him or punish him?"
"No," said Evan. "They hugged him and played with him. They were so glad he was found."
"Brad is something like that puppy," said Mom. "In a way, he was lost--he was a Christian but wasn't living for the Lord. But God loves Brad far more than that puppy's owners love their dog. God is happy that Brad has confessed and turned away from his sin. Like Pastor Kerns said, he's come home, and we should celebrate that."
Evan smiled. "Okay," he said. "Let's celebrate!" Rose R. Zediker HOW ABOUT YOU?
Are you happy when someone admits their sin and turns to God? Today’s Scripture reading tells of a son who was sorry for his bad behavior. His father rejoiced and welcomed him home, but that made his brother angry. Don’t be like that brother. God rejoices when one of His children turns from sin and comes home—and he wants us to rejoice too.
TODAY'S KEY VERSE: Luke 15:10 (KJV)
There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.
*Verse displayed is NKJV