Wow. I haven't posted anything in December yet – and while I'm sure some of you are pleased with such a thing, I have a reputation to keep up.

Yes, I know: that's what you were afraid of.

Those of you who enjoyed my last post would enjoy this sermon by John Piper about the Prodigal son, and if you can't figure out how the two are related, let me sketch it out for you.

Last time, we were talking about this bus which is salvation from the wrecker, and how those of us on the bus have an obligation to stop the bus and get off from time to time to get other people who are broken down on the side of the road in busted jalopies which are only worthy of the trash-heap – we have to get off and tell them that this is the only bus which isn’t going to the scrap yard where the worm doesn't die and the fire is never quenched.

But on the one hand, we have the problem of sometimes getting off the bus dressed like we're not really able or willing to help, but our heart's in the right place. But on the other hand, some of us have another problem. A couple of us get off the bus, get a couple jalopy-drivers to get on the bus, and suddenly when we all go to get back on the bus, one among us will say something like this:

"Listen – I can't get back on that bus. I mean, I've been faithful for a long time to do everything that the bus driver requires of me – and I was grateful to do it, right? – but he's letting these people who don’t really appreciate how great this bus is sit in the same seat that I sit in. They get to sit next to the window, just like me. Their chairs really recline nicely and they get to pick which movie we're going to watch next – just like me. I can't get back on that bus until I'm sure those ingrates have shown me that they know exactly how good they have it, and they walk it off a little by doing some of the work around here."

Yes: sometimes we forget to wear working clothes for the work we're going to do, and at the same times, sometimes we expect everybody to be able and willing to do the work we're doing right now – that somehow they're not really Christians unless they are at least at the same place walking it off they we are.

But here's what the bus driver says about that:

    My child, you have always been with me, and all that is mine is yours. But we had to be merry and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found.
I want you to think about this carefully today, because I think the point is a sharp one: in the same way that the bus stops for the one who hasn’t gotten on yet, it also stops for you who got on a long time ago. That is, the driver is waiting for you to get on and rejoice with the other people, none of whom deserve their place there.

"None of whom" includes you, and it includes me. And at the place where we can't see how undeserving others are because we are so blinded instead by how undeserving we are, maybe then we'll really be on the bus rather than just thumbing our nose at a ride.

UPDATED: wow -- I almost forgot the reason I wrote this post. These guys are getting people on the bus, and they are a mission church. Support them if you are able and willing, especially at Christmas.