There was a season when we needed a new set of ministry leaders. I hinted at some of those on board already about a young man in particular. They hesitated a bit when they heard he would be leading a prayer team. They seem unsure. One said, “Pastor, this brother does not look like it. He is too slow”. Another said, “The person that should lead prayer should be passionate.” I smiled and told them, “Just wait and see.” 

I called the person and handed over the book “Alone with God” by my Grandfather in the faith to him. I told him to finish it up in a week. This beloved one would come to the church office and read in a corner. Before you knew it, he would begin to roar in prayers. He would pause again and read. The next moment, you would hear sounds of intense and fervent praying. In a week, the passion to pray woke up in him. I jokingly renamed him after “fire.” 

One of the lessons I have learned and still keep learning as a pastor is that “My head must never become the barrier to what the Lord wants to do with a man who comes back home.” Listen, left to Ananias, Saul was never the person to be given a chance. His track record was a total mess- grade one murderer. 

Beloved, even the apostles were skeptical about him. How on earth would they accept the same person who has persecuted the church as a brother? He was the least expected. 

Do you know that it is possible to keep holding grudges against a man that God has forgiven? The man who fell has returned to the father’s embrace, but the ones who have been with the father feel like the father was too quick to forgive and restore. They are the holders of the “divine forgivetometer”. They measure the repentance quotient and the remorse level. There is a depth you must get to before you satisfy their requirements. 

I have seen men stuck in life because they refuse to accept that God can forgive and restore men. Some elder brothers are used to the quietness at home. The sound of rejoicing is very strange to them. They are used to the coziness and warmth of their church. They misinterpret the sounds of rejoicing as a competition for attention. They feel they will be dethroned. They feel threatened. They put up religious shows. 

This is your test of a solid love walk: If you are bidding for a contract and do not win, you then hear that it was one “Mr. Stone” (someone you do not know) who won the contract; you can easily let it slip. But if you hear that it is your neighbour, “Mr. Emeka,” who won the contract, you begin to ask yourself, “What does he have that I don’t?”

It takes grace to know the history of men and still trust in their becoming and their evolving. The history you have of men can become a stumbling block to accepting that God can forgive, restore, and use a man for greater works.

See the elder brother: 

“Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’ “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him.

Luke 15:25-28 NIV

The father is pleading with you too, today. Do not be angry. Do not shut yourself out. God knows what He is doing.

© temilOluwa Ola, Eruwa

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