Undeserving . . .
Jonah was furious. He lost his temper. He yelled at God, “God! I knew it—when I was back home, I knew this was going to happen! That’s why I ran off to Tarshish! I knew you were sheer grace and mercy, not easily angered, rich in love, and ready at the drop of a hat to turn your plans of punishment into a program of forgiveness!
Undeserving . . .
“The older brother stalked off in an angry sulk and refused to join in. His father came out and tried to talk to him, but he wouldn’t listen. The son said, ‘Look how many years I’ve stayed here serving you, never giving you one moment of grief, but have you ever thrown a party for me and my friends? Then this son of yours who has thrown away your money on whores shows up and you go all out with a feast!’
Undeserving . . .
Join me in a moment of self-examination. How many times have we come across people for the first time, and based on their appearance, we judge them to be the scum of the earth? How many times have we watched for years the lifestyle of people around us and how they lived with no regard for God, only one day to notice a sudden complete turnaround?
But for whatever reason, we cannot see past their past!
We do not realise it, but many times we secretly want people to get punished for their sins and most likely die in them, just because we want to prove a point with our own righteous living. Surely these ones who have wallowed in the pleasures of sin are undeserving of the grace of God. How can it be, that we who have walked ever so purely get to be ranked in the same ‘saved-class’ as those who by our standards have wallowed in evil? So like Jonah and the good brother, we get upset that they are changed, and continue to make every reference to their past . . .
But we forget that we all have a past.
Don’t go all self-righteous on me. If you are saved, you must have been saved from something. So yes, you have a past. And if Jesus didn’t save us all, we’d be sinking deep in the quicksands of sin and receive its wages in full. Who then made us judge to perceive anyone as UNDESERVING? That is certainly not the attitude of one who has freely received grace.
We are accountable to the grace we have received, to give same to others, freely. In a generation that chooses not to forget, we who understand the price for the grace we received freely must defy the customs and stand out with God’s unconditional love, with arms wide open, as the arms of God, to receive those who have to Him finally come.
“In the same way, there will be a glorious celebration in heaven over the rescue of one lost sinner who repents, comes back home, and returns to the fold—more so than for all the righteous people who never strayed away.”
If the host of heaven who never experienced the gift of salvation nor understand the gravity of what it really means rejoice at the restoration of one soul, how much more we who are the recipients of salvation?
Except we do not know the value of what we have received.
When Jesus got to the tree, he looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, hurry down. Today is my day to be a guest in your home.” Zacchaeus scrambled out of the tree, hardly believing his good luck, delighted to take Jesus home with him. Everyone who saw the incident was indignant and grumped,
“What business does he have getting cosy with this crook?”
Zacchaeus just stood there, a little stunned. He stammered apologetically, “Master, I give away half my income to the poor—and if I’m caught cheating, I pay four times the damages.”
Jesus said, “Today is salvation day in this home! Here he is: Zacchaeus, son of Abraham! For the Son of Man came to find and restore the lost.”
No one is undeserving, no, not one!