Saturday, March 17, 2007

A lesson from the "non-prodigal son"

If you're like me...cheer up! God is merciful and if you repent, your Father will forgive you!

Actually, that's the point of this post.

I've always had a bit of difficulty with Sunday's parable: the story of "the prodigal son." To tell you the truth, my symphathies were sorta with the elder know, the one who stuck around and didn't go wondering all over the place, blowing his father's dough on fast living, loose women, and so on.

But that's the wrong way of looking at it.

When the prodigal returned home, his dad didn't wait for him to come crawling on his knees, begging for a mere servant's position. No, when his dad -- and we might imagine his father looking out hopefully, day after day, for his son's return -- spotted his n'er-do-well offspring from afar he ran to greet him! Not just that...he robed him (a sign of authority), put a ring on his finger (another sign of authority) and placed shoes on his feet -- a symbol of freedom. (Servants, in those days, didn't wear sandals.) Then he threw a party for him! No servant's job for this guy...he was back in the family again.

The elder son was, as perhaps we can understand, ticked off.

He refused, upon learning the reason for the festivities, to join in. After all, he'd been the Good Kid...while "his father's son" (note how he refused to acknowledge him as his own brother) had screwed up big time.

Now note the father's love for both:

"My son, you are here with me always;
everything I have is yours.
But now we must celebrate and rejoice,
because your brother was dead and has come to life again;
he was lost and has been found."

What an opportunity for us!

We can take this parable and place ourselves in the position of the elder son...but with a different attitude. We can join with the father and rejoice and celebrate every one who, having left Jesus, came back...for whatever reason.

We can take this opportunity -- particularly in this joyful season of reconciliation -- to pray for the return of those "who are dead" that they may "come to live again." To pray for those who are "lost," that they may be "found."

What a great way to anticipate the glories of Easter!

And's not out of the realm of possibility that I -- and maybe even you -- might have once been, or may yet find ourselves in the position of "the prodigal son."

May our Heavenly Father have mercy on all of us, and may we emulate Him by loving His children. All of them.