Summary: A sermon examining the road back to the Father's house.
Tears Shed On The Way Back Home
Big Jim Hammil of the Kingsmen Quartet used to do a recitation that told the story of an evangelist was making his way home on a train. He sat down beside a young man, and after a while he noticed tears in his eyes. The minister asked if there was anything he could do to help him. The young man said "Preacher, two years ago I got so mean at home that my mom and dad couldn't do anything with me. But one day I even went so far as to strike my father with my fist. He told me then, 'Son, I hate to do it. It's going to break your momma's heart. But we want you to just get away from here--just leave this house.'" The young man had wandered the country for some time and 3 weeks earlier he gave his heart and life to Jesus. He wrote a letter to his parents and told them he would be coming through on that old train. He wasn't sure that he would be welcomed home, so he told his parents to hang a little white rag on top of the apple tree in their yard as a signal that he was forgiven. If there was no rag in the tree he would remain on the train. As they approached his home the young man asked the preacher to look and see if there was a white rag in that old apple tree. The preacher looked and said, "Son, you can relax. That apple tree is in full bloom! I never saw so many white rags tied on anything in all of my life. And that's not all. Out under the apple tree I see that grey haired old Mom and Dad standing out there waving a big white bed sheet saying 'Come home son. Welcome home. We love you."
I am here to tell you that our heavenly Father is just like that man's parents. No matter how far we have gone or how long we have been away... if we will humbly ask His forgiveness He will welcome each us back home.
The Christian life is a life of abundant joy in Christ. Paul said that we are to "rejoice in the Lord always". Though the Christian life is a life of joy... it is also a life of tears. Solomon (the wisest man who ever lived) said "there is a time to weep". There is a time for tears, and studies show that tears are beneficial.
Tears are beneficial concerning our emotional well being. Tears are your body’s release valve for stress, sadness, grief, anxiety, and frustration. Medical studies also show that: Tears are beneficial concerning our physical well being. Tears protect our eyes, they supply lubrication, remove irritants, reduce stress hormones, and they contain antibodies that fight pathogenic microbes.It is also clear through the scriptures that Tears are beneficial concerning our spiritual well being. We shed tears of joy when we are in a right relationship with the Father. We shed tears as a result of a burden for lost people. We shed tears when we reach a place of brokenness and seek to return to the Father.
In days gone by people would soak the altar with their tears. But these days the altars are dry!
There are 52 weeks in a year and in a given year I will officiate 20 to 30 funerals. I visit people on their death beds. I minister to their families as they take their last breath. I stand beside the casket as the family passes by for the last time. I see the tears... I hear the cries... I witness the broken hearts. As a result I have almost become numb concerning death (almost!) It is rare that I cry anymore. I have laid members of my own family to rest (as well as members of our church family) and I wanted to cry... but the tears just wouldn't come. This numbness is not something I am proud of but it comes with the job I guess.