Advent Devotion 9

The Waiting Responsible Father

By L. Lee Whitlock

 

Luke 12:32  Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

 

The Greek word for “flock”, ποίμνιον (poimnion), appears just five times in the New Testament (Luke 12:32, Acts 20:28,29, 1 Peter 5:2,3). It is a word that a grandfather might have used addressing his grandchildren. It was also used for Christ’s disciples.  I understand the sentiment. When Jenny and Cortney were babies, I could discern their different cries: Feed me; Change me; Pay Attention to Me. I loved all three. My favorite was the latter, especially late at night. I would pick them up, pat their backs, and they would nestle their heads between my neck and shoulder.

Bill Thomason in his wonderful book Real Life Real Faith notes: “G-d simply wants us, sins and all….” (59) Indeed! G-d wants to give us, His children, His flock, all that He has. For all of my daughters’ cries, it was my good pleasure to give them the same. Bill makes a startling claim: it is G-d’s responsibility to do so! He is not responsible because He has to be, He is responsible because He wants to be.  We know our responsibilities as Christians, but as Bill points out G-d is the Loving Father, and like all loving earthly parents, it is our responsibility to love, nurture, and provide for our children. Remember the Prodigal? The Good Father waits, looking into the distance, for the son to come home so He can give him good gifts: robe, ring, fatted calf, party! That’s Father Love. At every juncture, victories and defeats, when I began returning from the Far Country of sin, G-d has been waiting for me holding out all the good graces that my Father who art in heaven wanted me to have. He is always at the edge of His Kingdom, eyes toward the distance, waiting to give us His Kingdom.

Dear Lord and Father of mankind, thank You for being our responsible Parent. Thank you for hearing and answering our cries. We were hungry, and You fed us: thirsty for the Living Water, and You gave us drink; naked in our sinful ways, and You clothed us with forgiveness; sick, and You comforted us; prisoners to our addictions, and You released us. Most of all, we were strangers to Your Kingdom, and you invited us to come in and be sons and daughters and inherit the gifts of the Kingdom, and found joy in the fact that it was Your good pleasure to do all of these things. In the name of Our Father, as sons and daughters of the Kingdom, we give You Thanks. Amen.