Judd and his daddy decided to try out our church.  They showed up for worship one bright Sunday morning.   The precocious 3-year-old was committed to the preschool class.  He was properly signed in and dad was given a claim check to present when Judd was picked up. 

After the last song was sung, dad went to get little Judd.  However, the teacher refused to release the boy.   Dad didn’t understand the system and had misplaced his claim check.  Unfortunately, he was unknown to our folks.   He could have been a predator or someone’s angry ex.  They had no way of knowing for sure if Judd should go home with him.

So, they wrangled with words in the foyer while the other parents came and left with their little ones.   Poor Judd was held hostage, until he was the last child left in the class. 

With great annoyance, dad suggested that they bring the boy out for a face-to-face identification.  The teacher agreed.  Judd was fetched and marched into the foyer.   He looked up and saw the great concern on his daddy’s face.

And then the test. He was asked, “Judd, is this your daddy?”  Without hesitation Judd said – “No.”

He then ran back to the toys he had been playing with.  

Dad was speechless and embarrassed. 

But little Judd was in a tough spot. The new toys were fun and to acknowledge his dad meant leaving them behind. 

I understand!  There was a time in my life when I was enamored with toys – my guitars, my ambitions, my relational conquests, my academic achievements and so on.   Some were wholesome while others were downright evil – but they made up the sum of my life. 

Meanwhile, I simply refused to acknowledge God the Father who crafted me.  Like Judd I pretended I didn’t know Him and went back to my fun.   It finally took a crisis to help me see that I was stupidly choosing perpetual life in the preschool.

Judd is now a teenager, but his daddy still loves him.  He drops off a sack of groceries at the church every week.   OK not true.  The preschool teacher eventually decided that she had a Sunday dinner to make so she released Judd.

And after some coaxing, the prodigal son grabbed his daddy’s hand and went home.  It’s good that he did.   Since then Judd has been smothered in love by his family, he has enjoyed many birthdays and Christmas mornings where he received ten times the toys he left behind, and he has shared a lot of cool outdoor adventures with the daddy he once denied.

This same dynamic translates into the spiritual realm.  The apostle Paul said, “I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.”  – Phil 3:7-8 (KJV)

Paul left behind a busy life of lesser things.  He called them dung – a revolting comparison.  He left them that he might enjoy the things that the Father had for him courtesy of Christ. 

He knew that he could not have both.  You just can’t hold grab onto the Father’s hand until your hand is emptied.

The day finally came for me when I said, “Yes that is my daddy!”  That was the day I began to experience the richness that comes through Jesus.  He granted forgiveness and a guilt free path ahead.  He loved me without condition and infused my life with meaning.  He has led me, protected me, walked with me and blessed me in countless ways.

I gave up dung to get delightful.

As for you, you may still be in the preschool class.  You can remain if you prefer.  But know that the Father, your Father, has way better waiting for you.  Feel free to contact your local pastor or me if you would like to discuss it.