Saturday, March 10, 2012

Coming Back

A wonderful part of the Good News! is that change is possible, coming back to the gospel is possible, being gathered in the arms of the Good Shepherd and carried back to the fold is possible. But more than possible, it is wonderful.

Those who have tasted of this mercy know of its joy and are eager to help others find their way back. With this in mind, the Savior gave three parables to help us know not only how to help others come back but when to do it. In Luke 15 Jesus first tells us of the shepherd of a hundred sheep who loses one. When the 99 are safely in the fold, the shepherd goes out to seek the lost one. We don’t know how the sheep was lost. Perhaps he wandered off intentionally or perhaps he just got distracted and before he realized it, everyone else was gone and he didn’t know where they were. Despite how it happened the shepherd, knowing he had stewardship for the flock, found the sheep and brought him back.

The second parable is about a woman who lost a coin. Now a coin has no volition and so in this case it is the caretaker’s fault that the coin is lost. So the woman, knowing she is at fault, works hard to reclaim the lost coin.

When we compare these parables to our own lives we see that sometimes a sheep in our flock is lost not for anything we have done but we have a responsibility to go out and bring them back. In the case of the coin sometimes we drive someone away by offending or perhaps a misunderstanding has taken place and again we have a responsibility to do all we can to mend the breach that has caused the person to be lost.

But in the last parable of the prodigal son, the father does not go after the son. In this case it is willful disobedience on the part of the lost son, and the father knows he can do nothing but wait and pray and hope for a change of heart that will bring his son home. But notice that instead of going into depression, or thinking himself deplorable, or becoming defensive by blaming others for the loss of his son, he waits hopefully and is watching for the return of the son so that when the son does return the father sees him a long way off and welcomes him. In other words, sometimes there is nothing we can do but pray and wait.

1 comment:

Wendi said...

That last sentence reminds me of Elder Hales' Conference talk "Waiting Upon the Lord". Thanks. :)