We are living in a post-Christian era lacking the hope to ease the pain and hardship of what the last few years have caused. This is also a post-family era without enough support to share the burdens that come with each day. Many people have reached the point of exasperation, even desperation. In the parable from Luke 15, the prodigal son found himself in that very place and turned toward his father for any last glimpse of hope.
What happens next is the imagery our prodigal world needs to see today. In verse 20, the father’s reaction is an incredible visual of God’s response to repentance: “But while the son was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion. He ran, threw his arms around his neck, and kissed him” (CSB).
While there is much to learn from both sons in this parable, a timely message for the church is found in the actions of the father. Though not initially evident, the father is the main character in the parable, given his uncharacteristic display of grace and joy for both of his sons. While most in the church can identify with one of the sons, particularly in our shortcomings, we have been given the role to represent the father to this prodigal world.
Recognizing the state of hopelessness many families are in, the church has many practical ways to take grace into the local community. One of the ministries of Arkansas Baptist Children’s Homes and Family Ministries is specifically created to assist the local church in extending hope to hurting families within its community. The family advocacy program of Desired Haven Family Care provides the tools, training, and support for church volunteers to be partnered with families in need of guidance.
Through this program, lasting relationships are established to provide a healthy support system and skills for facing the challenges of life. Intentional investment is made in building a secure foundation for the next generation. The ultimate goal is to introduce families to the loving Father, who delights in their arrival.
This prodigal world needs more advocates. How has God called you to join the mission to joyfully welcome children and families into His loving embrace? Discover all the ways you can get involved at www.arkansasfamilies.org