Yesterday Jesus told stories about a lost sheep and a lost coin. Today he takes it even deeeeeper with the story of a lost son:
A man had two sons. The younger son told his father, “I want my share of your estate now before you die.” So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons.
A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and moved to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money in wild living. About the time his money ran out, a great famine swept over the land, and he began to starve. He persuaded a local farmer to hire him, and the man sent him into his fields to feed the pigs. The young man became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the pigs looked good to him. But no one gave him anything.
When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, “At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger! I will go home to my father and say, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.’”
So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. His son said to him, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.”
But his father said to the servants, “Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.” So the party began.
Meanwhile, the older son was in the fields working. When he returned home, he heard music and dancing in the house, and he asked one of the servants what was going on. “Your brother is back,” he was told, “and your father has killed the fattened calf. We are celebrating because of his safe return.”
The older brother was angry and wouldn’t go in. His father came out and begged him, but he replied, “All these years I’ve slaved for you and never once refused to do a single thing you told me to. And in all that time you never gave me even one young goat for a feast with my friends. Yet when this son of yours comes back after squandering your money on prostitutes, you celebrate by killing the fattened calf!”
His father said to him, “Look, dear son, you have always stayed by me, and everything I have is yours. We had to celebrate this happy day. For your brother was dead and has come back to life! He was lost, but now he is found!”
(Luke 15:11-32 NLT)
That’s basically my life story.
When I was young, I completely turned my back on my Heavenly Father, went off on my own, lived the wild life and pretty soon found myself down in the mud with the pigs. Finally (after much prodding from the Holy Spirit), I came to my senses and returned home. I was dead and he brought me back to life. I was lost and now am found. Wooooohooooo!
How absolutely awesome is it that our Heavenly Father is “filled with love and compassion” and comes running to us even when we’re still far off and gives us a big hug and a big kiss and a big party to welcome us home?
- If you’re like the lost son, go home. Get out of the pig slop and run to your Heavenly Father. He’ll welcome you with open arms and forgive your sins.
- If you’re like the older son, stop judging others and grumbling about what God has given you.
(Image credit: Bartolomé Esteban Murillo [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)