God is always calling us, always waiting to show us His mercy. All we have to do is respond.
Robert Robinson was an English clergyman who lived in the 18th century. He was a pastor, a gifted preacher, a poet and a writer of hymns. After many years he began to lose his faith. He left his pastorate and drifted around Europe before winding up in France, indulging in all the sinful behavior he had once preached against.
One night he was in carriage with a Parisian socialite who had recently converted to Christianity. She was reading some poetry and wanted Robinson’s opinion. She read, “Come thou Fount of every blessing, Tune my heart to sing thy grace, Streams of mercy never failing, Call for hymns of loudest praise.”
When she looked to her companion for a response, she saw he was crying.
“What so I think of it?” he asked, his voice choking. “I wrote it. But now I have drifted so far away from Him that I cannot find my way back.”
The woman looked at him and said gently, “But don’t you see? You know the way back, you wrote about it right here, ‘Streams of mercy never ending.’ Those streams are flowing even here in Paris tonight.”
That night Robert Robinson recommitted his life to Christ.
That is the story of the parable of the two sons we read about in the gospel according to Matthew.
One son refused to do his father’s bidding, but later repented and did as requested. The other son agreed immediately but did not do as he was asked. Both sons have lessons to teach.
God values a late conversion. He demonstrated this in the justice and mercy He showed to those who came to the harvest late.
God equally values the repentant sinner. The one who at first refuses Him, then changes his mind and goes to work in the field, is the one who does his father’s will. “I tell you in just the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance.” (Luke 15:7)
And the second son, the one who said “Yes, sir, ‘but did not go?” What can we learn from him? Are there ways in which we pay mere “lip service” to God? We promise to follow Him in all ways, but then convince ourselves we have done enough or let ourselves become busy with other things and have no time for God? Jesus told us, “Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21)
Our faith moves us to act. It is words followed by actions that God values. Let us show our love for Him by showing the truth of our words in the deeds we do. Then we shall know His everlasting mercy.