I WILL ARISE AND GO
By DANNY MINTON
A young man sat down one day and viewed his life. It was a life of despair. At one time, he was a man of wealth. He had friends, dined in the nicest places, and was respected by each person he met. Then, in what seemed like an instant, it was all gone. He reached into his pocket one day and discovered that all his money was spent. Those who he saw as friends disappeared when they saw he was broke. He was turned away from places he had often visited and was now alone.
He sat down now and viewed his life and what had become of it. He looked across the land where he now labored to gain just enough to scrape by a little food and a place to live. He was now involved in the lowest of jobs, feeding pigs. He studied them as they grunted through the mire eating scraps from the tables of the rich, longing to eat what even the swine were eating, and thought to himself that they even ate better than him.
It was at that low point in his life, the lowest it had ever been that he resolved to return home. “I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men.’” Luke 15:18-19 (NASB)
As a new year dawns into our lives, many of us will make New Year’s resolutions. They will normally be made to correct something that we wish to change about our lives to be a better person. They will come in all genres of life. Some will resolve to lose weight, while others will be determined to exercise more. Maybe we decide that we are going to read the Bible more or pray more often. We are resolved to come up with solutions for those areas of our life that we view as imperfect.
Whatever your resolution, the most important one that we make is like the young boy in Jesus’ story of the Prodigal Son. We all, at times, are drawn into the world, away from how God expects us to act, speak, and live. It takes effort to be a Christian in an unchristian world. James tells us that when we look in the mirror at ourselves, we need to take note of what needs to be changed within our own lives. Resolve to be a better person. Resolve to like Christ. Resolve to not let Satan and the world pull you away from what is noble and good.
In 1896, Baptist minister Palmer Hartsough penned the words of a hymn for which James Filmore Sr. composed the music. It is reported to be a delegation song that was sung by trainloads of people as they traveled from Ohio to California. It’s a song about resolution. It was later published in more than 130 hymnals. The first verse is one which, on January 1, we should all add to the top of our list of resolutions.
“I Am Resolved”
I am resolved no longer to linger,
charmed by the world’s delight;
things that are higher, things that are nobler,
these have allured my sight.
I will hasten to Him,
hasten so glad and free;
Jesus, greatest, highest,
I will come to Thee.
More than likely most of us will fail within the first month to keep all the resolutions on our list. Maybe, in our lowest moments, many of us may be like the young man who sat by the side of the road and viewed with envy the meal of the pigs. Life is that way; it doesn’t always go the way we want.
But like the young man, we can always be assured that we can arise and to the Father. And when we do, when we “hasten” to Him, He will be there waiting for us, not to scold us to but to welcome us home. “While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.” Luke 15:20 (NASB)
Danny Minton is Pastoral Minister and Elder at Southern Hills Church of Christ.