Pause

With the drawing of this Love and the voice of this Calling
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

T. S. Eliot, “Little Gidding” (1942)

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Listen

“While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with compassion. His father ran to him, hugged him, and kissed him. Then his son said, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Quickly, bring out the best robe and put it on him! Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet! Fetch the fattened calf and slaughter it. We must celebrate with feasting because this son of mine was dead and has come back to life! He was lost and is found!’ And they began to celebrate.”

Luke 15:20b-24

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Think

Gardening is not an ideal pastime for the impatient. There’s a lot of waiting, followed by a lot of waiting, and then some more waiting. For most people, the apex of gardening is when the blooms arrive.

But what sets the best gardeners apart is their ability to see the flower within the seed, the beauty before the bloom.

Jesus says, “his father saw him... while he was still a long way off” (v. 20). Interesting. From a distance, the father could see his son, but what if what he saw was more than just the outline of his son’s physical figure? What if the father could see not only the son who was, but also all that the son could be?

What if... even when we ourselves are “a long way off” from who God is calling us to be, God can still see the flower in the seed?

When God is the gardener, even the darkness that surrounds us is but the soil that is nurturing us toward the beautiful unfolding to come.

Dave McNeely

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Pray

God, I confess that I’m still a long way off from who you’re calling me to be. I pray that you will be a patient gardener with me as I continue to grow into something beautiful and fruitful. Amen.

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Go

As you go, may your heart be forever anchored in the welcoming heart of God.

As you go, may you experience the joy of love rushing out to meet you on your path.

As you go, may the future paved by forgiveness lead you in the path of everlasting joy.

Dave McNeely

Dave McNeely currently serves as the Faith & Justice Scholars Coordinator and Adjunct Professor of Religion at Carson-Newman University in Jefferson City, TN, where he is a member of First Baptist Church. He is married to Mandy and has two children, Christopher and Noah.

I Surrender All

Mark Hayes

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