11 He also said: “A man had two sons. 12 The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the estate I have coming to me.’ So he distributed the assets to them. 13 Not many days later, the younger son gathered together all he had and traveled to a distant country, where he squandered his estate in foolish living. 14 After he had spent everything, a severe famine struck that country, and he had nothing. 15 Then he went to work for one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to eat his fill from the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one would give him anything. 17 When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired workers have more than enough food, and here I am dying of hunger! 18 I’ll get up, go to my father, and say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight. 19 I’m no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired workers.’” 20 So he got up and went to his father. But while the son was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion. He ran, threw his arms around his neck, and kissed him. 21 The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight. I’m no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 “But the father told his servants, ‘Quick! Bring out the best robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Then bring the fattened calf and slaughter it, and let’s celebrate with a feast, 24 because this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found! ’ So they began to celebrate.
I am privileged to be the father of two sons. My own father’s love and forgiveness prompted me to be loving and forgiving toward them. As they matured and pursued their own interests and ambitions, I told them they were free to choose their lifestyles. I also reminded them that, while I would not always be with them, their heavenly Father would be. As we are convicted of our own mistakes, our heavenly Father’s goodness and forgiving heart are motivations for us to abandon our wrong choices and go to Him for forgiveness.
In our story today, the younger of two sons demanded his portion of the father’s inheritance. He declared his freedom to choose his lifestyle. The dad gave the son that freedom, but he kept him in view and longed for his return. He was living in an attitude of forgiveness toward his son before he left. The arrogant young man left for the wrong reason, but he learned from his mistakes. When his money ran out, his friends ran out, and the glamour and pleasures of the world failed, he returned to his father. The father forgave his son and freely accepted him.
That is a perfect picture of our heavenly Father who is waiting for us to turn from our self-centered lives and return to receive His loving and forgiving grace. God’s love required a price, and the price was paid by His Son, Jesus. Our Father in heaven loves us and is waiting to forgive us and to restore us to a complete relationship with Him. When we turn from our mistakes and return to Him, He offers us the blessing and fullness of a relationship with Him. That is a reason for celebration!
Questions to Ask Yourself
- Do you find yourself enslaved to a habit you want to break?
- Have you found that you cannot buy what it takes to satisfy your heart’s desires?
- If you have left God out of your life, will you pray for Him to restore you to faith and hope?
Pray for the staff and volunteers in the Medical Dental Unit. Pray for the churches the MDU partners with, that they would continue to connect and walk through life with those who come for care, sharing Jesus in multiple ways.