Lately I have been really pondering about the story of the prodigal son. There are so many lessons we can learn from that story. I even heard Chuck Swindoll give a short blip about the story this morning and how he preached on it last Sunday. Even his take what somewhat different than what I had heard before.
Today, I want to give you a few thoughts to think about when it comes to each of the 2 brothers and the Dad that was involved.
First, the youngest brother. We have all heard the sermon about how we are the younger brother. We make poor decisions, run away from God to do our own thing, and then finally we hit rock bottom. I believe we are all in that point in our lives sometimes. We have all been that son. We may not have ran as far as he did, but we have ran. We have done what we wanted. We have reached a point when we didn't know what to do.
Then we get the answer...we can be a slave. We can be our Father's slave. Even our Father is good to his servants. Even they are fed. So we head home knowing that at least we have some sort of future.
Then we have the older son, who, unfortunately, we can sometime become like as well. Being as we were once the younger son, you think we would have compassion, but we don't. We turn ourselves into "slaves" of the father and struggle to do all the right things, say the right things, be at the right place and at the right time. All the time thinking we are pleasing the father and trying to earn his love, his praise, and his favor.
When we see our younger brother come home to meet the Father instead of being happy to see the relationship mended we are upset because our father doesn't make the younger son a slave and work like we have been working. We refuse to rejoice with the Father and celebrate. Instead we think about what we are owed and what we deserve.
Lastly we have the image of the Father. I have a hard time calling him the Father, because I really want to come him the Dad. He is a perfect image of our heavenly Father. A Dad is so much more to me that a father. Being a father means you have a son, while being a Dad means you have stepped up and taken the responsibility on full force and will have an endless love for the child.
This dad accepts the younger son back into his house. He doesn't want to make the son a slave, but rather wants to restore the relationship with Him. He wants to restore the relationship. He wants to give the son all the blessings that he has been missing out on. He wants to put things back together the way things were intended. He wants to show his son true love.
The dad accepts the older son as well, but is deeply hurt. He tries to make the older son realize that its not the works that son as been doing that makes the father love him. He tries to convince him that all that the father has is his and it always has been. The father still loves the son, but wishes the son would just realize that nothing he could do would make the father love him more or less. He begs the son to see things the way he sees them. He wants the relationship to be all it could be. He wants love to abound in the family.
As I think about all three of these people, I see myself in the first two. I also see how God is the master Dad and just wants our relationship with Him restored. He wants us to have the life that He created for us. He wants us to have all the blessings that set aside for us. Yet for some reason we often miss the picture and get so busy trying that we forget He is our Dad and He knows what is best for us. All we have to do is ask Him. Ask Him to show us what He wants for us. Ask Him to show us the blessing He has for us. Ask Him to lead the way.
The father will give us life.....an eternal life.....an abundant life....a life we could have never imagined.
These images keep running through my head. I keep finding more and more meaning to this story. Read it for yourself in Luke 15:11-32