One of my favorite things about going to a conference is discovering new things. Whether it’s a new band, or a new speaker or a new author or a new perspective on an old story that Jesus told. Doesn’t matter, I just love discovering that I don’t know everything there is to know in my faith.
This year I discovered Jon Acuff. He’s a blogger, so I had to like him, right? He was also a great speaker. He didn’t speak for long (maybe 15min, while the big guns got 45min), but his talk stands out to me as one of the most influential things I heard at Catalyst. I’m sure I’ll blog about him more than once.
But what is on my mind tonite is something Acuff said about the Prodigal Son. I loved that he used THAT story as his teaching Scripture, as it is one God has used to shape my life in powerful ways. Acuff zeroed in at one point on that moment when the prodigal returns home, and he has this whole speech prepared to say to his father. He’s going to admit what he did wrong, and then he’s going to ask his Dad to make him like one of the hired men. Only, he never gets to give the whole speech. He admits that he was wrong, and then he is cut off by his loving Father who just wants to throw a party because his Son is home.
Now, here’s where it gets interesting. Acuff said that the reason the son never got to give the “make me like one of the hired men” part of his speech, is that none of his experiences during his ‘wild living’ days could change his identity. His identity was already set. No amount of squandering could change the fact that he was a son.
And it is the same for us. We are children of the King, sons and daughters of the Living God. And God will not ever, cannot ever, make us like one of the hired men. That is not who we are.
No matter how bad we screw up, no matter how broken we become, no matter how many failures we wrack up. We are still children of the King.
I need to know that. I need to hear it over and over again, because there is a very human part of me that wonders – always and eternally – if I am enough. I have to tell you, it is hard for me to admit that. I am struggling right this second to NOT delete that sentence. I kind of want to.
But the thing is…it’s the truth. And it is the reason I found Acuff’s teaching on this old, beloved parable so life-giving. Seriously. That is the story I want to shout from the rooftops. That is the truth I want to give my life to. That is the one thing I want to tell everyone: you are a child of the King, and all your squandering will NEVER change that. Your identity is set. You are enough.
And Jesus died so that your identity would never ever change. You are a child of the King.