We all have them.
This video has had a positive effect in my life the last couple weeks. I wanted to share it with you……………………….
Jason Kinzel-Youth Pastor
Have you ever heard the idiom, “gird up your loins?” My Dad used it when we were younger and I thought it was hilarious. I still think it’s hilarious but now it also pulls at my heart-strings. I recently team-taught a series on Jesus’ parables with Roy Moore. We researched parables from a historical and cultural context, finding helpful explanations into these mind-boggling stories. I stumbled across some girded loins and the image is stamped in my mind.
I love the Parable of the Prodigal Son, or as Tim Geddert more appropriately calls it, “Two Sons and a Running Father”. It’s in Luke 15:11-32. Here’s the reader’s digest version of the first half of the story (the second half will be another great blog topic for another great day):
A dad has two sons. The younger one demands his inheritance then runs away and squanders all Dad’s money. He comes to his senses penniless and homeless, in a pig sty (literally), talking to himself about how he’d have a better life if he returned home. So wreaking of pigs and betrayal, he heads for home. (Now here I have to use the actual scripture in verse 20 because a paraphrase wouldn’t do it justice) Verse 20: “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” The story goes on to say that Dad had the servants clean up the son, and then Dad threw him a welcome home party. 24. “For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found…”
Our research on this story uncovered many fascinating insights, but my favorite was the Greek word for “ran” in verse 20. Dad sees his boy coming and “he RAN to his son.” The Greek for ran here is dramon which is the kind of running an athlete would do in a foot race. Dramon is not a casual jog. Nor is it the cute running Evy and Vi do in their church dresses when they play tag. For Dad to run this way, he’d have to gird up his loins.
In the first century, men wore long, floor length robes. An older man such as this father, would wear multiple layers of linen robing that would cover his legs completely. In fact, for a man of his age and stature to publicly expose any part of his legs would have been inappropriate, indecent, and shameful. Furthermore, an older man like the father would not have run anywhere, rather he’d walk in a slow, dignified way. Thus, if a man went against all decorum and sprinted as described in the story, he’d have to bend way down, gather up all his robes, pull them up in between his legs and tuck the robes into his belt. Perhaps he may not have even wanted to spare the moment it would take to tuck the robe into his belt, so he’d just hold it up in his hands. Either way, he would gird up his loins strategically, because he was planning a mad dash. Yes, it would look ridiculous. And back then witnesses would be mortified at his indignity.
With that in mind, come back to verse 20. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; HE RAN TO HIS SON, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” Dad sees his boy come into view and without a second thought for his own reputation, the father takes upon himself the humiliation due his child. Dad had every right to be skeptical, to give a lecture, to be angry, to reject his son as the son had rejected his father. But instead he runs.
My youth pastor, Bruce, used to quote his friend saying, “God’s not mad and He wants you back.”
I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that the dad in this story represents our Heavenly Dad. So who does the son represent? Me? Absolutely, yes. I’ve been in this son’s shoes many times with the LORD. And I can boast with tears in my eyes that I know full well the sight of my heavenly Daddy racing toward me with His loins girded.
Chances are if you’re reading this you know the love of the Father too. You know that He loves sinners, saves lives, and makes us clean and new because of Jesus’ sacrifice for us. Do you know someone else that needs to know? There is someone in your life who needs to know that God’s not mad and He wants them back. If you’re not sure who this person is, ask God. He’s thinking about them every second and waiting with robes in hand, ready to run to them. What are you going to do this week to show them the love of this heavenly Father? You could invite them to Fall Festival; get them out of the dark on Halloween and into a place flooded with light and filled with forgiven people. That’s just my idea; what’s yours?
God’s not mad. He just wants his kids to come home. Let’s be a church that lives that out this week.
As I prepare to depart as your transitional pastor, allow me to share what I’m feeling, beginning with gratitude for the opportunity I’ve had to serve you these past nine months. Because this was my first pastoral role without my life and ministry partner, I wasn’t sure how I would adjust to that reality, but it has been a delight to serve you, and your many thoughtful expressions of support have been most encouraging to me. Thank you!!
I also have feelings of sadness, for a certain attachment develops when pastor and flock worship, serve and grow together. Although I will miss the relationship with you, I am comforted knowing that we will one day be eternally together in our Lord’s presence.
Perhaps the dominant emotion is one of excitement as I ponder your future. Provided you affirm Pastor Brian on October 6th as your new pastor and provided he accepts your call, I anticipate that this next chapter in Bethany’s life and ministry will be a wonderful chapter of spiritual growth and community influence. If I have in any way been used by God to help prepare you for this new chapter, please give all praise and glory to God.
Even though I’m moving over 600 miles away to Peoria, Arizona, you will not be forgotten as a blessing in my life, and I claim the words of the apostle Paul for you: “I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6)
Wishing you God’s richest blessings,
Painting: Faith,Hope,Love by Anna Kwa