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The Prodigal Pooch

Scripture Reading Luke 15:11-32

     The neighbor pulled into the driveway and said excitedly, “Tom, I think I just found Black Jack!”  I envisioned a partially decomposed body with a distinguishable bullet-hole in the hide.
     You see, close to six weeks earlier during his exercise time, my dog, Black Jack, gambled on making a break for it and headed for the hills.  Despite my frantic calling, he kept right on going.
     During the next several weeks, I frequently drove around searching for Black Jack.  On one occasion I heard him barking as he presumably pursued his prey along a heavily wooded, snow-covered ridge.  I called him by name.  The barking stopped for several minutes.  But then, as if compelled by a force greater than himself, he continued on.
     Eventually I figured the odds were against Black Jack returning alive and gave the remainder of his dog food to a friend to use.  After all, it was highly probable someone had shot him for chasing deer or that he had died some other way.  It wasn’t that I was strongly attached to this particular hound.  One of the reasons he had been given to me was because he was an older dog whose periodic choice to chase deer had made him virtually useless as a coon hound.
     But now, sure enough, within a couple hundred yards of the country church where I was pastoring, we found him.  My prodigal pooch had finally returned!
     Nevertheless, his lifestyle over the previous month-and-a-half had reduced him to little more than a bunch of bones.  That is, bones with skin stretched over them.  In addition, his nose and ears were a mass of scabs and lacerations from running through briar patches.
     Now, I want to ask you, what do you think I did to Black Jack when I found him?  I’ll tell you what I did.  I ran into the house and grabbed the best that I had which consisted of half a ring of bologna and several dinner rolls. (Please note: watch your fingers when feeding a starving dog!)  Although it took time, I was eventually able to nurse him back to health.
     The fact is, whether we are willing to admit it or not, apart from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, we are all like Black Jack.  We all have run away. Indeed, the Scriptures reveal that, “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way” (Isaiah 53:6a).  In Luke chapter fifteen, Jesus talks about a wayward son who squandered his inheritance.  So we, when left to our own devices, waste our time and treasures.
     The good news is we can return to the Lord and he will gladly receive us.  In Luke fifteen, the father graciously welcomed his prodigal son when he finally came home.  And no matter what you may have done or where you may be, God wants you to know that you can return.  After all, Jesus has clearly promised, “whoever comes to me I will never drive away” (John 6:37).
     Friend, return to your Maker and Master while there is still time.  “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).  And that’s no bologna!

© 2000 Tom Rakow. All rights reserved.