The past couple weeks in our Sunday services our pastor has taught out of Luke 15 on the story of the Prodigal Son. If you're not familiar with that one, it is about a man who had two sons. One demands his inheritance and leaves the family, basically lives it up with hookers and in the party life, and ends up coming back to his father, begging to be a slave. In the story, Jesus paints the picture of a Father longing to see his son return, not caring at all about his mistakes or failures, but just wanting to reconcile his relationship with a son he thought was dead and gone. The other son in the story is quite the opposite of the one who left. He has stayed with his father his entire life, working for the family and doing all that is required of a son in that day and in that society...Our pastor talked Sunday about the second son. He talked about how this was a picture of the selfish, self-righteous, legalistic people that we can become when we go from living as sons of the Father and think that we have become slaves of our Father instead.
And as he was speaking about this, something hit me...It wasn't an audible voice kinda thing, but God spoke to me through the text something of a spiritual truth: Often we confuse being in the vicinity of the Father with being in the presence of the Father. Too many times we work for God, do tons of things to serve God, and constantly try to impress Him with our actions and our work...And we miss His presence. We miss the fact that our Father loves us regardless of what we do. We cannot do anything that is so bad that we would lose the love of God. And we also cannot do anything so good that we earn the love of God...And too many times, we as Christians, confuse doing stuff for being. We think that we are called to do...But we are called to be. To be in the presence of the Father who loves us more than life itself. Literally. And out of that "being" should come our doing.
Let me challenge you (and mainly myself!) to not settle for being in the vicinity of the Father...Push forward into His presence.