Pastoral Post 1.12.2018

Prone to wander.  Lord, I feel it.

By: Scott Taylor

I am most certainly the youngest son.

 It’s true.  I was the surprise third son sent to my mother and father.  I was the surprise that motivated my father to take steps to ensure that I would remain the youngest son.

As I grew up, I took every opportunity to test myself against my brothers.  In sports, I relished that I could win at golf.  In my studies, I always made sure to read the same books my older brothers were reading.  When I found a hidden pack of smokes in my brother’s car, I decided to join in with the vice rather than report it to my parents – a simple vice which led to a 15-year reliance on nicotine.  In all of this, I was proving myself to my siblings.  I come to realize that I was also proving myself to me.

I am most certainly the youngest son.

At the first chance, I left home to go college.  At the first chance, I left the church I was raised in.  At the first chance, I left the farm I where I was raised.  At the first chance, I moved across the country.  At every chance, I claimed my independence with pride.  I took offence when anyone doubted me because of age or experience.  I saw the challenge of being a professional musician as a way to continue to prove myself.

But, as I have said twice now, I am most certainly the youngest son.  And what that means is that my need to prove myself cannot be satisfied.  No matter the success of this or any moment, it is never enough.  No matter how many people give me the verbal affirmations of praise, I struggle to really hear them.  And while I feel that this is tied into my sonship, I know that such feelings are not unique to youngest siblings.

At some point, my family began to sing the hymn “Come thou fount of every blessing” at each milestone along our journey.  Lauren and I sang it at our wedding.  We sang it at my mother’s funeral.  I often play it on the banjo while my daughter laughs and toddles along in her own sweet way.  The hymn speaks of the great gift of grace and how God longs to bind me to that grace.  But I am prone to wander.  Like that other youngest son in Jesus’ parable, I have something to prove – not to the world, but to myself.

We are so often told that life is burdensome.  I’m not sure if life itself is burdensome, but I know that burdens are out there.  I’ve come to learn that many burdens are self-imposed.  It is in realizing that simple truth that I can begin to lay the burden down.  We talk about grace a lot at church.  I am not sure what grace is.  But, I know what the need for grace is.  The very weight of my burden demonstrates that need for the grace.  And the gravity that urges it to the ground points towards the Author of Grace. 

I am most certainly the youngest son.

Prone to wander.

God is most certainly the Parent rushing down the road to welcome me home.

Let your grace, like a chain, bind my wandering heart to you.

What can I possibly have left to prove?

Lord, I feel it.

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