Funerals makes me think. Prodigals, too! What about Ghandi?!?!I grew up in the Methodist church, was sprinkled when dedicated, had an experience at 17, and had plans to become a pastor. Then I saw it. Hypocrisy! Right there in the church!! Among the leadership!!! I couldn't get out of there fast enough.
From age 21 - 36 I was the prodigal. I wouldn't even go to church on days my Mom was going to sing. (I don't suffer regrets much place in my life, but that would be one.) I got a couple of degrees, started making good money, and became something of a West LA snob. My friends and I, all involved in Santa Monica civic leadership, were about as secular as we could be.
We didn't do anything seriously bad, evil, unlawful. It was the '70's, and while others were dabbling in drugs, we drank and thought nothing about driving home wasted. We spent money on great cars, dinners out, trips abroad, and bobbles. We also gave our time and some of our money back to the community.
As I was hanging out with friends that were my parents age, many of that group of buddies have passed away. These people were really lovely, solid human beings. They raised their kids, some went to church, and they loved to help others. But to a one, including me, we swore, told seriously off-color jokes, drank until drunk, and were more than happy to check out naked ladies in magazines, at the movies, or on stage. Now that I think of it, the ladies were happy to go off to Chippendales, also.
During those years, I can assure you that I had no relationship with Jesus, God, or the Holy Spirit. At one point during this time, I was fond of saying that I was an agnostic about being agnostic.
At age 36, I was fortunate enough to have my love of Jesus reignited, and am happy to have the certainty of eternity with the Lord. But was I saved at 17 or 36? If I was saved at 17, what was the condition of my soul during the rebellious years? I know some who have been or are now even more rebellious, and have been more clear in their rejection of God through word and deed, but who showed every evidence of being fully devoted followers for year or even decades before wondering off. What happens if they die today?
Maybe next Sunday we can look at the issue of Ghandi, or Catholics, or "Christians" who believe in abortion or assisted suicide or think it is perfectly fine to drink until drunk, get a little on the side, or swear, tell off-color jokes, and look at naked ladies.
What do you think about the prodigal Christian? Once save, always saved?