In the last two messages, we have considered the parable of the prodigal son. We’ve seen how we must often “Love Enough to Let Go” and trust that God will continue to work in the life of a prodigal even as they walk through “Their Field of Pigs.”
As the son was longing to eat the pig food, he decided to return home and began to rehearse what he would say; “I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son” (Luke 15:18-19).
The son returned home. But before he could give his speech, before he could tell his father about eating with the pigs…before he could “prove” his repentance or say ANYTHING, the father received him with joy.
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.”
When the father saw his son had returned, he was overjoyed and wanted to celebrate: “Bring the fatted calf…for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found” (Luke 15:23,24). This type of love and joy cannot be manufactured for a one-time event. It must be established in the relationship long before there is trouble, and maintained even when all else is falling apart.
The scripture isn’t clear about what turmoil occurred when the prodigal son left home. We’re never told of the father’s pain – but I assure you it was there. It’s not clear how long the son was away – but I KNOW the father spent many anxious moments worrying about his son. And yet, when the son returned, there was joy and forgiveness. Without condoning the poor choices the son had made, the father received the son and loved him without reservation.
In many ways, we are the prodigal son who has walked away. But when we turn to our Heavenly Father in faith, He accepts us without requiring that we earn His love or demonstrate our worth. We may have drifted far and are unsure how to find our way back into His loving arms, but when we turn and seek Him, we find He is right there ready to receive us Home.
Jesus Christ submitted to a horrible death in order to provide a path of restoration. We who have been restored are now called to restore with others in this same manner; “Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Colossians 3:13). We are called to be a catalyst of restoration, not a hedge of thorns which must be vaulted over. When a prodigal begins to return, let’s believe the best, be filled with compassion, and receive them back with true forgiveness and joy…even while they are a long way off.
Have a Christ Centered Day!
God’s Daily Word Ministries
**** Reading Plan ****
Jan 27 Exodus 4:1-5:21; Matthew 18:1-22; Psalm 22:19-31; Proverbs 5:15-21