Tuesday, September 29, 2020

The Return Of The Prodigal

“Then He [Jesus] said: A certain man had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.’ So he divided to them his livelihood. And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living. But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want. Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything.” —Luke 15:11-16

I awoke early this morning with the prodigal son on my mind. So I ask the Lord, why? Typically it is because of some event from the preceding day that had been stirring in the back of my mind. But, before I get into that. Have you ever noticed that the scripture says the father divided his livelihood with “them”? To both sons. Very often I have thought of the younger son getting his inheritance and the older son waiting for his father’s passing to inherit.  I looked at several other translations and it is the same.  The inheritance was divided between them. It is not like the older son was left out.  OK so back to the point.

I was having a discussion with my daughter about how children – not her – want to prove that they can choose for themselves – do what they want – the way they want – with or without the parents agreement.  They can make their own way. Even if it proves to be harmful to them and painful for the ones who love them and want the best for them.  You can tell them to be careful, to choose wisely, but they don’t want your wisdom – just your resources.  The receive godly counsel as a lecture and your opinion.  They are bound to do what they want to do. Oh, that is not what your children are like? You are blessed my friend!

I can remember asking my son once if he thought I sat around all day trying to think of ways to mess his life up.  To make him miserable. That is the way a loving parent’s advice is often received. Back to the story. So the young son gets his money and his friends help him spend it. When he is feeding pigs (remember he is Jewish) and thinking that what they are eating is looking pretty good, he remembers his father. I have often said, children will not repent until the pigs food starts looking good.  The point where they realize that they have rejected the best for their own way – to their detriment. It is at that point that they repent – or for some – don’t.  Not all stories turn out with a happy ending do they? We were all children and prodigal.  Someone once said that “We don’t realize that Jesus is all we need until Jesus is all we have.”   It is not a pleasant thing to watch your children struggle. 

So he got up and went to his father. “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. “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’” –  Luke 15:20-24

A couple things here. First, the father did not seek the son out and bring him back home.  There had to be a heart change. I have often said, “You can make me do it, but you can’t make me like it.” Being physically present does not mean that the person has changed. My wanting you to be different and you being different are not the same thing.  It takes a change of heart. Repentance.  But- when the son did repent, the father received him.  Oh, there is a lot that I could write about that, but I won’t. Not today.  The point is – until we repent, our Father will not receive us as His children.  We will not have an inheritance in heaven. We will have squandered it – wasted it. We see a spiritual reality played out in the lives of loved ones every day.  Second. Restoration requires repentance. Repentance is wrought as an act of our will not by rules imposed by some authority. And so the Father waits – hopeful that one day he will see His son or daughter coming over the hill – returning home.

Softly And Tenderly Jesus Is Calling (Will Lamartine Thompson, Public Domain)

Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling—  Calling for you and for me; 

Patiently Jesus is waiting and watching—  Watching for you and for me!

Come home! come home!   Ye who are weary, come home!

Earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling,    Calling, O sinner, come home!”

By Faith Alone By His Grace Alone And For His Glory Alone

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