I realized as I got up off the couch, another day of near idleness had passed.
The semester was over, and it was a huge semester. New frontiers of ministry in North County burst through, more people coming to Christ than ever and my student leaders empowered and using their leadership in the most dynamic ways I have ever seen… It was exhilirating, it was draining.
But now I was faced with myself as I sat on that couch. When all of my own leadership, achievements, and the rush of doing the work that I love to do… who am I?
Nouwen writes of his experience after an exciting and powerful tour speaking out for peace in Central America and the need for Christians to care for peace there… and in the end there just seemed to be a sense of emptiness. But then, he encounters Rembrandt’s painting of the return of the prodigal son, and suddenly realizes his desperate need to be back in that embrace.
Nouwen spent hours staring at that painting. He literally went to the museum and got to sit in front of the original painting for 2 days straight, and just contemplate the Father’s embrace.
I could use 2 days of staring at His embrace.
But instead of contemplation, I’ve found myself in idleness. It’s funny how alike the two look on the outside… but so radically different inside.
So falteringly, I decide to get up from that couch. Get up from that idleness. I feel the urge to just sink back into the pig pen from the exhaustion I feel… but no, I can’t give in to the seduction of sloth, and remember that it is in His embrace, His love that my exhaustion can be exchanged for His easy yoke of rest.
After all, getting up from that pig pen, returning home, the son finds that it is the Father who had been looking for him all this time, ready to run out to the son and embrace him.