"'Son,' he said to him, 'you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.'" - Luke 15:31-32
I once overheard of a group of coaches discussing what they were going to do with a certain player who had problems following the team rules. He’d had plenty of issues, but the final straw came when they found out he was caught up in drugs. Some of the coaches wanted to kick the young man off the team, but the head coach did not. He justified keeping the young man on the team by telling this story…
“I once had a new puppy,” the head coach said. “It would come into the house and track mud all over the place. My wife was very upset, to say the least. One day, I’d had enough. The dog had to go. But then I started thinking. I realized that I’d really not worked with or taught that puppy much of anything. The reason he was tracking mud in the house was because I had failed to do my job.”
The rest of the coaches listened as he told this story. And as the head coach finished, he related to puppy back to this young player. “Before we turn our backs on this young man, I want us to ask ourselves if we can honestly say that we’ve done everything we can to help him learn how to be a quality young man.”
In Luke 15:11-32, we read “The Parable of the Lost Son.” The lost son is just like the coach’s troubled player and his muddy dog. They all had dirty paws. But even with our filth and sin, Jesus chooses not to give up on us. He continues to love us no matter what we do or how far we fall. And, in life, we have the opportunity to extend the same enduring love to those around us. We don’t have to give up on people when they fall short. Christ will give us the strength and wisdom to know how to keep loving others just as He keeps loving us.
Today, when we see someone who is struggling—maybe a teammate of ours—may we not turn our backs on them just because they have dirty paws.
1. How do you react when someone who doesn’t know Jesus mistreats you?
2. Have you ever thought about giving up on someone trapped in sin? Are you tempted to do so now?
3. Who introduced you to Jesus? Might you be that person for someone else?
“Father, today I ask You to help me to see others with Your eyes. Help me to see them as Your creations and allow me to show them the grace that You show me. Help me to not turn my back on a pair of dirty paws. In the name of Your Son, Jesus, I pray. Amen.”