” ‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ “ Luke 15:31-32 (NIV)
Jesus teaches of what God is like. He uses this illustration to show what is happening with us here and our Heavenly Father. There are two boys, one takes his inheritance and leaves his home to squander it in foolish living. The other stays home. Are we familiar with the story? Do we find worlds of wonderful enlightenment within it? Or do we prefer to sit back and merely enjoy it as entertainment? If we are serious about our faith, could this story become a powerful tool to correct any lost ground between us and our Father above?
Which son are we? Are we the one who has stayed in our Father´s house? Have we never left our church or our beliefs? Or are we the reckless one who has gone far off to enjoy ourselves with the wealth of blessings our Father left us with? Whichever boy we resemble, what point in the story do we find ourselves now? Are we still out there in the world letting ourselves chase our passions and waste our Father´s wealth on all kinds of prostitution? Or do we find ourselves in famine and crisis? Now that we found our purse will not last forever, are we hungry and in need? Do we find ourselves squashing through the mud with foul beasts? Does it seem they eat better than us? Have our thoughts returned to our Home far away? Have we begun to think of our Father again? Have we decided to return? Have we already set out to go and see Him?
Jesus describes the Father´s reaction when we do come. Is there any reprimand for letting our Family down? Are we forgiven although we don´t deserve it? Is the Father happy to see us and rejoice to have us back in His arms? When we read the story do we stop to think? Can we bring it home to us, by finding our place in it?
What about the older brother? If this is who we are, what is our position? Do we feel better because we think we haven’t wasted those things the Father gives to us? Do we find ourselves without any guilt? Have we never let God down? Are we happy when our filthy brother comes into the house? Or do we judge him? Do we resent our Father accepting those who throw away our inheritance on wild living? Are we insulted by their irresponsibility and what they gave in payment to prostitutes? Do we share our Father´s joy and embrace that dirty sinner back into the home? Where do we find ourselves? Which son are we? What part are we living right now?
Dear Jesus, Your parable speaks of a beautiful love that the Father has. It speaks of forgiveness although it is not deserved. But if we would truly love our Father and not merely be thinking of ourselves, please help us see where we are at the moment. Make it clear to us where our heart is now. Help us past all the bad parts of the story and back into the favor and the arms of our Heavenly Father. Give our God cause to rejoice that we are with Him. Make us at home there with our Father and happy for His joy. Wherever our hearts are, please set an intense starving hunger within us to be back there where we belong. Then let the celebration begin when we find ourselves within God´s embrace!