“Father, as we dive into this remarkable passage in scripture I ask for patience. I beg you give us the patience to really hear this message of redemption and eternal love. Allow it to fill us up and radiate in our lives and the lives of the people we interact with.”
Welcome to ReCreate Ministry!! Our mission is making and growing authentic followers of Christ. This week, we are starting a new, 3 week series called The Lost Son. We will be in Luke 15 for the majority of this series.
The prodigal son. What a legendary passage. This has to be, in my opinion, one of the most often referenced set of scriptures in the Bible. When I was asked to write about this passage I was doubtful. I wasn’t sure that I was the right person, given the fact that I am not a father. I mean, how in the world can I offer a father’s perspective. But after a lot of prayer and reading, God leaned on my heart and showed me a new way to look at this.
This passage starts off with a description of the family. In verse 11 (NLT) Jesus says “A man has two sons.” Its important to note that according to tradition, the elder son would inherit the bulk of his father’s wealth. The younger son would get some of the estate but not nearly as much as the older brother. Jesus continues in verse 12 (NLT); “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.” Now, in those days it would be considered unheard of if not down right shocking for a son to demand his inheritance early. Now, after the younger son gets his portion of the money, he packs his things and leaves. He goes to what is called “across the border”. After some time the son runs out of money, and the land where lived suffered from a great famine. He was a skilled laborer, so he was able to find work feeding pigs. Starving so badly the pellets they would give to the pigs began to look appealing to him. The son remembers that even his father’s servants would have so much food they would have extra, and here he was that same man’s son starving for pig slop! He decided to return home, and beg his father’s forgiveness. After his long journey, his father saw him walking up and jumped for joy! He ran out to meet him throwing his arms around him crying. He orders his servants to get the finest clothes and a family ring for him to wear. He also ordered them to kill the fattened calf and prepare a great feast for his son! Upon seeing this great party his older brother asks what is going on. When he hears his father has killed the fattened calf cause his brother is home he is furious. His father goes to him and asks why he wont join. The older son said that he didn’t understand; He worked tirelessly, always remaining loyal but you have never thrown a party for me. The father said to him that he should celebrate the fact that his brother who was lost, is home.
The obvious comparison of the Father is that he is to his sons as God is to us. That is a correct analogy, but there is also a very simple human element to this. He is a father. Now, as I mentioned earlier, I am not a father, but I have been privileged to know some incredible ones. And those men exemplified the elements in this story. The first one is love. The father loves both of his sons dearly. He worked all his life to provide his sons with a great business to grow and provide a phenomenal life. He sacrificed what he may have “wanted” to do, in order to achieve these things. He loves his sons enough to give the younger exactly what he wants. When he wants his share, he gives it to him, no questions asked. Then he lets him go. Even though he knows what his son is doing isn’t the right thing for him to do, he loves him so much that he knows he must make his own decisions. Much like God, he allows us to make whatever decisions we want to make. No matter how badly that decision will workout for us he still lets us go. The father in this story is truly emulating God, by not trying to control the decisions that other people make. He just continues to love on his son no matter what he decides to do. My father, taught me a very valuable lesson when I was growing up. There comes a time in life that a parent must let their child go. It is the single hardest thing that a parent will do, but if you have raised them up with God’s love flowing through you. They will always find their way back if they need to.
The next trait the father shows is patience. The father knows exactly what his son is going to do. He knows it is a terrible decision. But he has the patience to allow his son to learn that lesson in his own time. When I started thinking about that concept, it absolutely blew me away. The father in this story is clearly wealthy. He could have easily found a way to get his son home. He could have hired someone, or sent his older son to go and get him. The father, however, raised his son in God’s love. And much like God and us, he knew his son would return. Those principles he was raised with would eventually lead him back home. The father just had to trust in God’s plan. He waited for what had to have been years. I imagine that father would spend every evening on the porch just watching, praying, and hoping he would see his son on the horizon. To his delight the son returns. When we walk away from Gods plan it absolutely breaks his heart. But he sits and waits patiently for our return. When we do the reaction is the same as the father in the parable. He runs out to greet us, celebrates our return.
After reading this passage I asked myself one question. How can I, not being a father, could use the father’s perspective in my own life. It dawned on me that his children in the parable, are similar to the people in my life. For so long, I have wanted for everyone I know to be happy and healthy. I will do everything I can to help them except let them go. You see, I would try to control their actions with suggestions and ideas. It eventually led me to absolute misery because I had failed to love them as God does. To love someone as God does we must be able to let them go and make their own decisions. Our overall goal should be to make sure they know that we love them dearly; and that when they return, we celebrate just like God would. Without judgement, fear, or anger. We must see them as if they had never left at all. I would encourage all of you to do the same. Especially with Thanksgiving coming up. I understand any time family gets together there can be incredible tension. Try to walk in that door with God’s love flowing through you. No matter how frustrated you are with your family members decisions just take that day and be thankful they are there. Love on them with all you have.
Next week, we will be continuing our The Lost Son series by looking at the Prodigal Son, and his AHA moment. I pray all of you are blessed this week and every week to come. May God continue to work miracles, big and small, in your life. Enjoy this Thanksgiving with your family and pray for them! A family that prays together, stays together.