We often get absorbed in things. Before you know it you were online for an hour. Before it was realized, you played the video game half the night. When you had planned to get work done, something else grabbed your attention. While at work, you became so focused on a task, that you stayed late at the office and did not take note until long after. We all get absorbed.
Today’s passage talks about being absorbed with God projects. The people were so absorbed with the God projects “that they didn’t notice God right in front of them.” He was right there but they were so busy taking over their lives, focusing on what they were doing. What happened? “They stumbled into Him and went sprawling.”
Are you taking on a lot of God projects disregarding what James said about works, trying to earn your way into the Kingdom? Remember there’s a stumbling block—God is right in front of you. If you are missing Him, if you are not trusting Him and thinking you can earn your way, you’ve missed it all—and you too will go sprawling. There was a time in my life that I thought the more good I did, the better chance I had. But there’s only one way to Heaven, through Jesus Christ, through the blood of Jesus. There is no other way. If you are focused on God projects, you’re missing the boat.
“How can we sum this up? All those people who didn’t seem interested in what God was doing actually embraced what God was doing as he straightened out their lives. And Israel, who seemed so interested in reading and talking about what God was doing, missed it. How could they miss it? Because instead of trusting God, they took over. They were absorbed in what they themselves were doing. They were so absorbed in their “God projects” that they didn’t notice God right in front of them, like a huge rock in the middle of the road. And so they stumbled into him and went sprawling.” – Romans 9:30-32 [MSG]
There were two sons who were very different. The one son wanted the inheritance so the father split up the estate and the son ran off with the amount he was given. The other remained. Most people remember this story. Finally after the son spends all of his money, he realizes what he did. He returns to his father and repents. What was lost was now found.
What was the father doing while the son was away? Can you remember that part of the story? When the son was returning, he wasn’t even at home when his father saw that he was returning. He was “still a long way off.” Why? Because the father was watching and waiting for the lost son.
God watches and waits for us too. He does not want to lose any of us. He is filled with unfailing love and overflowing compassion. He wants to run to each of us. He wants to embrace you. We simply need to head home. No matter what you have done, no matter how far you have traveled, you always can return to him. He’s waiting. Come home.
“So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him.” – Luke 15:20 [NLT]