I sat next to Brett at the sound equipment table watching the wedding guests arrive and take their seats.  Brett and I chatted while waiting for the ceremony to begin, but I became distracted by a couple who wandered in front of me looking for a place to sit.   The wife noticed a coffee stain on her husband’s light grey suit jacket.  She pointed to it and said, “Oh honey, remember you got that stain last time you wore it and we meant to take it to the dry cleaners but forgot.”  The husband looked down at the stain and took off his jacket.  After watching the exchange I looked back at Brett and said, “What was that you said?”  Poor Brett was slightly miffed that I had ignored our conversation while listening to someone else’s.

I picked up my devotional journal today and happened to open it to a dream I had several months ago.  I dreamt I had a beautiful red dress laying on some butcher paper on the floor.  Then part of the dress turned to sawdust.  The dress was no longer useful, so it was rolled up in the butcher paper and thrown out.  It made me think of yesterdays conversation about the coffee stain on the jacket.  The suit jacket the young man was wearing was cut in the latest men’s style.  But, when he discovered it had a stain on it he no longer wanted to wear it.  It was useless to him.  Just one small stain and it was no longer wearable.

I wonder if the prodigal son shocked his neighbors and fellow church members when he asked for his inheritance early and left home to live on his own.  His suit jacket looked fine until upon closer inspection the coffee stain of pride could be seen.  He didn’t need his dad or his family, he could do it on his own.  The little coffee stain didn’t seem to bother him though until he tried to wear it while feeding the pigs.  By then he had spilled all kinds of stains onto his jacket and just wanted to go home and take it off.  He didn’t even want a new one cut in the latest style.  A servants uniform would work just fine for him.

We are born with the stain of pride on our hearts.  It touches everything we do.  We are so used to it being there we don’t notice it and wear it everywhere we go.  God created us His children.  He sent our brother Jesus to this earth to die for all the stains on our jackets.  When we run home to our Father in heaven it’s like taking our jacket to the dry cleaners only better.  Just like the prodigal son’s father gave him a new robe indicating he was a part of the family and not a servant, our Father in heaven takes our stained jacket and gives us a new robe.  A new heart.  A new life with new actions imbued with the humbleness of our brother Jesus.

“But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.  Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.”  Luke 15:22-24