Joseph Iregbu

Purpose Guy

Gift of Grace: The Story of Zack

Recently, I was in Berlin to speak at a youth event themed “A Perfect Gift for Christmas.” One key focus of my talk (before we experienced God’s visitation) was the gift of grace.

What I couldn’t share with the youths, however, was the story of Zack you’re about to read (which I wrote and intended to share as part of my talk). So join me today as I tell you about Zack…

Zack lived at home with his father and brother, Collins. His father was a wealthy businessman, with a business empire that spanned across the world.

It was a good life

They lived in a mansion that sat on a 250 acres of land (that’s huge!). Zack and Collins had the best of life; went to the best university and were attended to by guards all the time. It was a good life.

Their father travelled so often and everything in the house was always left in their care. They really had everything they wanted as long as they were in the house and within the company of their guards.

Zack was a very smart dude, slightly more intellectual than Collins. Both of them were gradually being prepared to take over the family estate and business portfolio in a few years. Everything was mapped out and nothing was going to change it.

Until Zack met Craig…

Zack meets Craig

Craig came from a rich family too but he was wild and lived without control. He (Craig) had freedom; free to live on the fast lane and ‘enjoy life to the full’.

Zack wanted a bit of that freedom too. He thought to himself:

How could my father be so rich and I lack the freedom to do anything I wanted?

So one day, he came to his father. Frustrated, he demanded for some freedom. So his father obliged. He was free to drive himself without his guards. Four weeks later, he came back to his father. This time, he demanded for the freedom to sleep over at Craig’s house at will. His father permitted him.

After the first two weeks at Craig’s house, Zack returned for more money. His father obliged yet again and this time tripled his monthly allowance. Life was awesome for Zack and the taste of freedom couldn’t be sweeter.

One sunny Saturday afternoon, Zack dropped by to see his father. After a long conversation, he stormed into the house. After 30 minutes, his bags were packed and the car key in this hands. He said to his father (with Collins watching helplessly);

“Dad, I’m moving out of the house. Don’t bother looking for me.”

All of his father’s attempt to persuade him to stay failed. Collins pleaded but Zack was resolved.  He took a last look at the mansion as he drove off. There was no stopping him. In his pocket was a platinum credit card his father intended as a birthday gift in 7 days time.

So he left home, toured the world, spent each day in wild parties, enjoyed himself and in the process spent all the money on the credit card. In 6 months, everything was gone. And so did Craig. Then one by one other ‘friends’ took their leave until Zack found himself desperate, hungry, destitute and living off left overs in the city shopping malls.

He lived this way for another 4 months until one day he decided to do something he thought he’d never be able to do…

He headed home!

The father’s embrace

Image by Edith OSB | Flickr

Image by Edith OSB | Flickr

He looked rough, with overgrown beards and a stench that made everyone hold their breath. He hadn’t had a shower in weeks. The once pristine young man looked a far cry from who he was 10 months ago.

But the next thing that happened would change everything; his father looked at him, first with a stern face, then a flicker of smile broke over his face as the tears rolled down his eyes. With a gesture of open arms, Zack broke down in tears;

“I’ve wasted it, I’ve wasted it, and I’m not worthy anymore”, he muttered.

But with each affirmation of his unworthiness, the father’s embrace grew stronger and firmer, as though to counter Zack’s confessions. He wouldn’t let go of his son, not for a second time.

Receive and share the gift of grace

You know Zack’s story too well… and like him, we all messed up at some point in our lives. Maybe you’re reading this and you’re there right now. There’s hope.

The Father is ever ready and willing to forgive and receive us to Himself.

There’s no greater gift than the gift of grace. No greater love than the Father’s warm embrace. Receive it. Share it. Tweet this message of hope.

Merry Christmas!

About Joseph Iregbu

From a homeless, near-school-dropout to living a story worth telling. Purpose is my passion. What's your story?

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