A preacher met an old man in a restaurant. It was a normal kind of meeting since preachers like to eat and talk. The two men struck up a conversation and they talked awhile. On into the discussion the old man asked, "What do you do?" "I'm a Christian minister," the pastor replied. The old man said, "I owe a lot to a man of that profession."
When the old man was a kid he had been born out of wedlock and his father had run away before he was born. As he grew up he had learned to hate one question, "Who is your father?," since he didn't know the answer. The bitterness in his heart, the anger in his mind and the emptiness in his soul had sparked quite a few fights and arguments as he grew older. "Whose child are you?" became a reason to hate, fight and distance himself from other people. His mother was a church goer and he endured the usual church life in the south. One day the church got a new pastor and he prepared for the inevitable. Sure enough, as he tried to leave the church before the pastor could get to the back door, he felt that hand on his little head and the preacher asked, "Who is your father?" Then, after a pause that seemed eons, the insightful preacher said, "I know whose child you are! You are a child of God! I see a striking resemblance!" That little boy's life was changed that day, and he went on to be elected twice as Governor of Tennessee." It was all because he finally realized whose child he was!
Paul spoke truth to the Galatians who had been told they could not become children of God's promise unless they followed the customs and law of the Jews. Paul writes, "So, in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:26-27)." Paul is saying, "I know whose child you are. You are children of God."
September is recovery month. Really, each month and each day is recovery time, because recovery is something that is constant and ever-present. This week we will be blessed by a cardboard testimony from our Celebrate Recovery brothers and sisters. There won't be lots of speaking, but there WILL be lots of substance. You will meet people who have spent much of their life being told they are misfits, defective, ne're-do-wells and flawed. There are two errors in this thought process. First, these folks are not the outliers ... they are the norm. I have yet to meet anyone who doesn't have a hurt, habit or hang-up they need to face and (with God's grace) correct. Second, all of these people are children of the Living God! For "in Christ we are all children of God through faith ... there is neither Jew nor Gentile, slave nor free, male nor female" and we could add black or white, liberal or conservative ... you get the point! We are all God's kids ... so let's all go and claim our eternal inheritance, and stop arguing about whose inheritance is bigger, better or more valid. Let's keep to remembering our Father loves all of His children, and let God sort out the things above our pay grade. Randy