‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found’. (Luke 15:31-32, NIV)
‘Not that story again!’ I can almost hear you thinking. Like me, you’ve probably heard countless messages on the prodigal son! I was certainly tempted to skip the story while I was reading through Luke, but something inside told me to read on.
This time, my attention was focused on the father. His younger son (let’s call him Laurel), comes back feeling unworthy, hoping at most to be welcomed back, but certainly not as a son. And well, there is some truth to that. Hasn’t he taken his father’s possessions, then left, without giving him a second glance? However, upon seeing him, his father cuts his little speech short by throwing his arms around his neck. His long lost son has returned!
On the other hand, we have the elder son in our story (let’s call him Hardy). He’s been faithfully slaving for, I mean serving (well, he says ‘slaving for!’) his father, and has stayed with him all his life. He could have asked him for anything he wanted. All his father’s possessions were his! But he didn’t realise it. Somehow, he lived in his father’s house, but outside of his love. Perhaps he even strived to live up to certain expectations or to earn his father’s love. And he was missing out!
So often we can be like these two sons. We may think, like Laurel, that we’re hardly worthy of any love. Or we may strive to please God, hoping to earn His approval – like Hardy? In the story Jesus told, the sons had misjudged their father and didn’t discern the gift of his love. But, like an anchor, he was there for them. Unchangeable. Waiting for the day when… They only had to take a step toward him. Even if it was in fear, in anger or in frustration. He would listen to them.
Prayer: Lord, I don’t want to live far away from You! I don’t want to serve You without knowing You! Please, show me everything You want me to have, and help me to take it. But most of all, show me Your love, and how You always welcome me! Thank You! Amen.